, Salem, MA

Local News

April 20, 2013

T service shut down, many find themselves stranded

Freddie Wooten looked a little lost late yesterday morning waiting for a ride at the all but deserted Salem MBTA station. He was one of thousands who suddenly found their daily routines shaken by the chaos in Boston.

Wooten, a Lynn resident trying to get home on the commuter train, knew that public transportation had been locked down throughout the region, while a small army of law enforcement officers conducted a manhunt for the surviving Marathon bombing suspect.

“But I thought the train would have been running by now,” he shrugged. Instead, he was forced to call a friend for a ride.

Polly Wilbert of Salem never bothered to go to the station.

“I work on the 54th floor of the Hancock Tower,” she explained. Ordinarily, she would drive to Wonderland and take the Blue Line into Boston. But not only was the transit system shut down, so was her job at a biotech investment firm.

“You have to take these things day by day,” she said. “They’re only doing what is safe.”

She had an eerie sense of deja vu. On Sept. 11, 2001, Wilbert was also working in Boston, in a high rise. “I can remember how frightening it was,” she said — and is. “What these two did was devastating. It’s not the same as flying planes into towers. But it’s terrifying. And that’s what terrorism is.”

Rob Brown, a professor of communications at Salem State University, had to do all his communicating electronically yesterday as he was stranded by police order in his home.

“I’m in Belmont which abuts Watertown,” he explained. Police had ordered residents in Watertown and the surrounding communities to remain at home while they combed the area for Dzhokhor Tsarnaev, “the man in the white hat,” considered to be armed and dangerous.

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