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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You know, MBTA and other police agencys find it a gas to give railbuffs and other people interested in trains a hard time when out takeing pictures for there hobby on public land---in the interest of security my ass.........yet there own dam people dont stop a train when they think there is a bomb on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :x :x :x

Suspicious package brings bomb squad to Rockport

By Ben Hellman
Staff writer

The MBTA found a suspicious package on the commuter rail in Beverly on Monday but allowed the train — and its complement of passengers — to continue on to Rockport. Though the package turned out to be harmless, local police are wondering what transit officials could have been thinking, especially in light of recent events overseas.

Just before 5 Monday afternoon, the MBTA contacted Rockport police to inform them the package was on its way, Rockport police Chief Tom McCarthy said. McCarthy added that the officer answering the call was incredulous the train wasn't being stopped, and McCarthy has called MBTA police Chief Joseph Carter for an explanation.

"I'm at a loss to explain it," McCarthy said. "If you have a package that's that questionable that you have to contact police and evacuate the area ... it's just beyond me why they didn't stop the train."

The lapse appears to contrast sharply with the MBTA's announced stepping up of security in the wake of recent terror attacks on London's mass transit system. At least one state agency, though, viewed Monday's incident with urgency.

Once the train rolled into Rockport, state police called in a bomb squad and evacuated the Rockport train station, a nearby business and a Little League game. However, passengers had remained on the rush-hour train as it made all regular stops in Gloucester and Rockport.

After X-raying the gift-wrapped package, police found it to be a children's water slide purchased from the Discovery Channel Store.

The MBTA is investigating the incident, spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

"The director of MBTA operations (Anna Barry) wants a report into why protocol was not followed," Pesaturo said.

The train conductor was informed of the package as the train left the Manchester station, the stop before West Gloucester, Pesaturo said.

However, McCarthy said the MBTA told him the suspicious package was found while the train was in Beverly.

"Even if it was in Manchester — who cares if you think it's that kind of package?" McCarthy said.

Pesaturo said the train workers recognized the package as belonging to a regular passenger, and that may be why they reacted so casually to it.

"We have to do interviews with the train crew to find out if they acted reasonable," Pesaturo said.

All Massachusetts transit systems have been on a heightened state of alert since last week's train bombings in London.

McCarthy said the MBTA continued running trains into Rockport while the bomb squad was investigating the package. McCarthy said around 7 p.m. another train pulled into the station.

Yesterday, train passenger Beryl Crown said the train crew did not inform passengers there was a suspicious package on the train.

"I didn't know a thing about it," Crown said.

Crown said she did not learn until after she saw police cars in the Rockport station parking lot that there had been a bomb scare.

Rockport fire, police and ambulance departments helped state police evacuate a 300-foot area around the train station. Police closed the nearby ice cream shop, Dairy Train, and told the coaches of a Little League game at Evan's Field to take the children behind the Tadco building.

"It was kind of scary," said Rockport resident Emily Moss, 16, who was managing Dairy Train by herself when a firefighter told her she would have to close down. Moss said two co-workers arrived shortly afterward and helped her close down for the night.

Little League coach Bob Bland said the game had just started and the teams waited behind Tadco for about 45 minutes before they resumed their game.

Correspondent Michael Grosse contributed to this report

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Chief: 'Messed-up' communication led to bomb scare

(single page view)
(view as multiple pages)By Colin Steele
Staff writer

ROCKPORT — A Monday-afternoon commuter train with a suspicious package on board made all its regular stops and was not evacuated because "everyone knew" who the wrapped parcel belonged to, an official insisted yesterday.

But Rockport police Chief Thomas McCarthy said that information was never revealed to his officers, state police or train passengers, prompting police to evacuate the area while a bomb squad scoured the train.

McCarthy spoke with MBTA police Chief Joseph Carter yesterday and said the conversation "cleared up a couple things we didn't know" Monday. He gave this account of the events:

Train workers found the package and told the conductor. The MBTA notified state police, but in the meantime, passengers told crew members the package belonged to someone they recognized as a common commuter.

"I think that's when the conductor said, 'Let's go to Rockport and see what happens in Rockport,'" McCarthy said. "I think the conductor was confident it wasn't a threat, but that wasn't communicated well to us or to the state police.

"... The communication lines got a little messed up. I don't think that will happen again. At least I hope not."

The 4 p.m. train from Boston to Rockport carried on with its itinerary even after workers spotted an unattended, gift-wrapped package on a seat. State police brought in a bomb squad and evacuated the area around the Rockport station when the train arrived; the package turned out to contain a children's water slide.

"It was a unique situation where we had an unattended package, but everyone knew who it belonged to," said Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The owner was a "regular customer" on the train, Pesaturo said. The MBTA is investigating the incident.

MBTA policy is to report an unattended package immediately and call in police at the train's next stop, Pesaturo said.

"The biggest mistake that the train crew made was to not take the bag from the seat and put it in the cab or something," he said. "They left it there, and it got reported as an unattended package."

Passengers said the train crew did not tell them about the suspicious package, and they only learned of the scare when they saw police, fire and ambulance crews at the Rockport station. State police evacuated a 300-foot perimeter around the train — including an ice cream shop and baseball field — but another train full of passengers pulled into the evacuated station about two hours later.

The unattended package prompted the bomb scare in light of the state's response to recent events overseas: Gov. Mitt Romney raised the terror alert for the state's public transportation systems after the London train and bus bombings last week that killed at least 53 people and injured 700.

While the MBTA insists "everyone" knew the parcel was innocuous, passengers interviewed yesterday were agitated nevertheless.

If conductors on Monday's Rockport-bound train failed to follow MBTA protocol, "they potentially put people in danger by not following a policy designed to protect people," said Al Shafner, who was waiting at the West Gloucester station yesterday for the 12:13 p.m. train to Boston.

Greg Neilson, another passenger, agreed.

"Somebody was not following procedure," he said. "That's called negligence."

If the MBTA finds crew members did not follow procedure, it should discipline them, he said.

Neilson, who once worked on the 50th floor of the World Trade Center in New York, has recently heard announcements on trains asking commuters to keep an eye out for suspicious packages. Those announcements are part of the MBTA Transit Watch program, which uses the slogan, "If you see something, say something."

The program also urges riders to report other things that seem out of place, including people in restricted areas, suspicious or disorderly people, smoke and unexplainable odors and substances.

Correspondent Michael Grosse contributed to this report.

Emergency instructions

The MBTA offers these tips for emergencies on the commuter rail:

* Remain calm, listen to and follow instructions provided by the train crew. Never attempt to get on or off a moving train.

* If you see smoke or suspect a fire, notify the train crew. Trains are equipped with fire extinguishers and emergency tools.

* If a passenger is in distress, notify the train crew immediately. If you are medically qualified and able to assist, identify yourself to the train crew.

* Notify the train crew of any suspicious package or activity on your train. Do not move suspicious packages.

* Exit the train only when directed by the train crew. If it is unsafe to remain inside the train, you may be asked to change cars. Emergency exit windows are clearly marked throughout the train. Remember to assist disabled or elderly passengers

Premium Member
8,417 Posts
stm4710";p="69248 said:
...The MBTA offers these tips for emergencies on the commuter rail:

* Remain calm, listen....
* If you see smoke or suspect a fire, notify the train crew.
* If a passenger is in distress, notify the train crew immediately.
* Notify the train crew of any suspicious package...
* Exit the train only when directed by the train crew..
And don't forget the most important tip:
* If there truly is a bomb on board the train; Bend Over, Place Your Head Between Your knees, And Kiss Your Sweet Ass Goodbye...
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