Alert commuter rail crew saves life near Boston

December 13, 2010

STOUGHTON, Mass. — An alert and ever vigilant Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad crew — that recognized the difference between a bag of clothes between the tracks and a human being — saved a life in this Boston suburb last week.

The MBCR crew, with engineer Chris Holm at the throttle and conductor John Gibbs (UTU Local 898) in charge, brought the six-car train to a halt after the locomotive’s headlight pierced the dark and illuminated what turned out to be an intoxicated man who had stumbled.

“He wasn’t coherent,” Gibbs told the Boston Herald. “He told me he wanted to rest. I said, ‘This isn’t the place to do it.’

“We’re trained to do this,” said Gibbs, age 54 and with 17 years of service as a conductor. “It’s good to know when it happens you can snap right to it.”

An MBCR spokesperson told the Herald, “It’s hardworking, quick-thinking men like Chris Holm and John Gibbs that show what an excellent job the men and women on the commuter rail do every day.”