Trespassing on the MBTA

Trespassing on the right of way is a very dangerous activity and a criminal offense, Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 160 Section 218. It does not make a difference whether a person is walking on commuter rail train tracks or on the train tracks of a subway. People do not belong there.

Commuter Rail Tracks:

High Speed trains image

Acela train lines have overhead electrical lines that carry 30,000 volts of electricity. Never attempt to touch these wires for any reason. Notify the Transit Police, MBTA Official or an MBCR Official if you have an emergency or notice a problem with these wires.

Commuter rail and Acela trains travel at extremely high speeds. Train speeds should never be underestimated. Trains that weren’t there moments ago can appear only feet away due to its traveling speeds. When standing on the platform ensure that you stand behind the yellow line. It is recommended, however, to stand back far away from the track bed as possible. Commuter rail and Acela train do not always stop at all stations.

Another common misconception is that a person will be able to hear a traveling train approaching towards them and they will have time to leave the track area. This is not true. Commuter rail trains travel quietly as they glide on the rails. A person would not have enough time to react when a commuter rail train approaches from behind them.

Train conductors, who operate commuter rail trains from the front engine, do not have a lot of time to react when observing someone on the tracks. Depending on the train’s speed, proximity, weather conditions, and several other factors, the train may not have the ability to stop in time.

Don’t risk it. Stay off the tracks. Train tracks are for trains only!

Subway Tracks and the Third Rail:

Danger Thrid Rail Image

Subway tracks pose the same threat as commuter rail tracks, and sometimes the danger is even greater. Several subway lines use a “third rail” as a form of electric power. The third rail is exposed and runs along side of the subway train tracks and it carries 600 volts of electricity. Walking on subway train tracks carries the same dangers that are present on commuter rail tracks, with the additional danger of the exposed third rail. Worse, when on subway tracks in a dark tunnel, there is no escape from an oncoming train when walls enclose the track area.

Trackless trolleys and buses:

Beware if you come across a down wire do not attempt to touch or pick up, immediately notify the Transit Police. Trolley, trackless trolley and Silver Line Bus wires carry 600 volts of electricity.

Learn more about Operation Lifesaver
MBTA Transit Police Department 
240 Southampton Street
Boston, MA 02118

Office of the Chief:
Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 
617-222-1200 TTY

TEXT Line 873-873

Did you know you can send crime tips to the MBTA Transit Police and remain 100% anonymous? Simply text your tip/message to 873873 to help out and/or report suspicious activity. Message and data rates may apply.

*For emergencies
please call 617-222-1212

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