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Keolis: Wheel Came Off MBTA Commuter Rail Train, Causing Derailment

WALTHAM (CBS) – An MBTA commuter rail train derailed near the Belmont-Waltham line Tuesday morning.

Fitchburg line train 404 left Wachusett around 6:20 a.m. and then partially slipped off the tracks near Waverly Square around 8 a.m.

"We heard loud clanging from underneath the train, it sounded like we ran over some metal or rocks. After a few seconds, the train stopped," Deirdre Cummings, a passenger described to WBZ-TV. "We were then told that the axle on the wheel had broken."

MBTA commuter train derails
Fitchburg line train 404 slipped off the tracks in Waltham Tuesday morning. (Photo credit: Tom Vachon)

She said at first, everyone on the packed, "standing room only" train was told to "hang tight. They were sending a rescue train to pick us up. If people wanted to, they could have gotten off the train near Waverly Station in Belmont."

"First it was a 30-minute wait. Then it was 45. It's pretty unclear as to when we are going to get in. I think bottom line is people would like to see better investment in our public transportation so that we can predict, and easily get back and forth to work," said Cummings.

Commuters transfer trains after one derailed in Waltham Tuesday morning (WBZ-TV)

Those that stayed on the train had been waiting for almost two hours.

There are no reports of any injuries.

Another passenger, Tom Vachon, sent photos of one of the train's wheels off the track.  He told WBZ-TV he didn't feel the derailment.

MBTA commuter train derails
Fitchburg line train 404 slipped off the tracks in Waltham Tuesday morning. (Photo credit: Tom Vachon)

Keolis, which operates the commuter rail, said about 800 passengers were on board at the time of what they called an "upright derailment." They were put on two other trains into Boston. The original train was due at North Station at 7:42 a.m.

"Initial findings from this investigation confirm a wheel separated from a single-level coach car while it was travelling," Keolis said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "It has been determined that the wheel separation prompted the derailment."

It's not yet clear why the wheel separated. That train is being "quarantined" for a detailed analysis, and other vehicles will also be inspected.

"As a result of this incident and as a precautionary measure, an inspection of all coaches with the same equipment is now underway and is expected to be complete before the start of the evening commute," Keolis said.

Cummings said, "It's somewhat frustrating. I mean, people have to get to work. There are some people trying to get to school. A whole set of things that people were trying to get to. And when you can't rely on the commuter rail and the trains, it's challenging."

Normal service has since resumed.

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