MBTA oversight officials are calling on the T to take better control over the commuter rail by investigating last week's problems and by getting a move on in hiring someone to oversee the Purple Line.

Talk about long-term improvements in the fleet and rails is all well and good, said Fiscal & Management Control Board Chair Joseph Aiello during Monday's meeting, but the commuter rail needs action.

"Those are five to 10 to 15 years off ... we do have a railroad to run today," Aiello said. Referencing the derailment and locomotive fire that happened last week, he said, "These kinds of incidents as you mentioned are really troubling to the public."

The commuter rail had problems last Tuesday, when a wheel fell off of a train headed into Boston on the Fitchburg Line causing an "upright derailment," and Thursday, when a Kingston Line locomotive on its way into town had a fire in the engine when the supercharger failed.

"There's no question that we let our customers down, and we must do better," MBTA GM Luis Ramirez said to the FMCB.

Ramirez said the T is investigating both incidents.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack urged the T to make sure it looks at all elements of the incidents -- everything from inspections to what the T tells its riders. The T's 12 Commuter Rail lines are managed by Keolis Commuter Services, a French company that's operated the system since 2014 and is under contract until 2022.


Dan Grabauskas, a former T GM who was forced out a decade ago, has been contracting for the T since September 2017 in the consultant position of executive director of the Commuter Rail. T officials yesterday complimented Grabauskas but said he was never intended to be a permanent replacement, and his contract expires in March, Pollack said.

The T is "actively hiring" for a long-term, full-time staff version of that job, Pollack told the Herald.