Fired 'ghost train' operator may fight for his job - Metro US

Fired ‘ghost train’ operator may fight for his job

About 50 passengers were aboard the so-called "ghost train."
Michael Day/Flickr

The driver of the “ghost train” may fight to get his job back after the MBTA investigated the circumstances surrounding the runaway train.

The operator, David Vasquez, was fired after his train left the Braintree station without him.

The transportation secretary told Channel 7 News that the driver is entitled to an appeal in the case saying, “My understanding is there is an appeal process and I believe that the lawyer for the driver has indicated that he plans to take advantage of it.”

The operator, a 51-year-old who had worked with the MBTA for more than 25 years, was initially placed on paid leave while an investigation was underway, officials said.

In response to the incident, experts weighed in on possible solutions to avoid similar situations, including advocating for automating train operations.

Transportation Secretary StephaniePollack said the so-called “ghost train” incident was an “unacceptable breach” of the T’s safety mandate.

RELATED: Runaway MBTA train operator fired

The trouble began when the train stopped during a signal error at Braintree station, MBTA Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gonneville stated. The driver received approval to exit the train, then flipped a “bypass” switch, designed to allow the train to travel pass the signal, Gonneville said. But for reasons currently being investigated, the train began moving down the tracks, he said.

The driver sustained minor injuries when he was clipped by the train, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

No passengers reported injuries.

Gonneville said train overseers knew in about 60 seconds that the driverless train had pulled away and began moving other trains further down the track out of the way. In fewer than 10 minutes, after the T cut power to the electrified third rail, the train came to a stop, Pollack said.

Investigators from several departments were planning to regroup Friday morning, and officials said more information would be made available when it is complete. There was no discussion at the meeting of criminal charges.

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