2008 Massachusetts train collision

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2008 Massachusetts train collision
Wreckage of Green Line car #3667 after the accident.
Wreckage of Green Line car #3667 after the accident.
Date May 28, 2008
Time 5:51 pm
Location Newton, Massachusetts
Rail line Green Line "D" Branch
Operator Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Type of incident Collision
Cause Micro-sleep episode caused by sleep apnea
Trains 2
Deaths 1 (operator of the rear train)
Injuries 14
List of rail accidents in 2008

The 2008 Massachusetts train collision occurred on May 28, 2008, shortly before 6pm, when two westbound MBTA trains collided on the Green Line "D" Branch between Woodland and Waban stations, behind 56 Dorset Road in Newton, Massachusetts.[1] An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) originally found the cause of the accident to be due to the operator texting while driving, but the NTSB later found that the operator of the rear train, Terrese Edmonds, had not been using her cell phone at the time of the crash, but rather went into an episode of micro-sleep, causing her to lose awareness of her surroundings and miss potential hazards up ahead. The collision killed Edmonds, and numerous others were injured.[1] Fourteen passengers were taken to area hospitals; one was airlifted.[2] This crash, along with another similar accident a year later, led the NTSB to set higher standards and regulations regarding the use of cell phones while operating a train.


Initially, error was blamed for the crash.[3] Later, the crash was blamed on Edmonds, who allegedly was using a cell phone while operating the train. After the NTSB investigated the accident it was found that cell phone use and/or distraction was not the cause of the accident, but an episode of micro-sleep caused by sleep apnea was likely the reason for the operator losing awareness of her environment.[4] Edmonds was a relatively inexperienced operator who had tried for several years to get the job and was happy to have received it. The qualifications for the job included a high school diploma, a valid driver's license, a background check, and seven weeks of training.[5]

Cell phone records indicated that Edmonds was not using her cell phone at the time of the incident.[4] NTSB investigators also found that the brakes had not been applied, and the tracks were not faulty.[6]


In 2009, the NTSB released its final report on the crash.[4] About a year later, another crash on the same route was blamed on an operator texting while driving.[7]

See also[edit]

Other similar accidents[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Noah Bierman; Ralph Ranalli; James Vaznis (2008-05-29). "Trolley operator dies after collision in Newton". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  2. ^ Marie Szaniszlo; Casey Ross (2008-05-28). "Several hurt as 2 T trains collide in Newton". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  3. ^ http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/46051/Driver-trapped-in-US-train-crash Driver Trapped in US Train Crash
  4. ^ a b c NTSB Accident Report
  5. ^ http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008May29/0,4670,TrainWrecks,00.html Signals, cell phone focuses of Boston train crash
  6. ^ http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/31/brakes_not_utilized_in_train_crash_ntsb_says/ Brakes not utilized in train crash, NTSB says
  7. ^ http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20090711ntsb_to_issue_final_report_on_last_years_trolley_crash/srvc=home&position=recent NTSB to issue final report on last year’s trolley crash

Coordinates: 42°19′44″N 71°14′07″W / 42.3288°N 71.2353°W / 42.3288; -71.2353