A 20-year transit veteran who operated a Boston trolley that crashed into another rail car had an alcohol level above the Massachusetts drunken driving limit, transit officials said yesterday.

In New York, a woman died from injuries she suffered in a subway fire that killed one man and injured 150 people, officials said. Both accidents occurred underground Friday morning.

Following the New York fire, which was blamed on a short circuit caused by slush, there were charges that mistakes and confusion hampered rescue operations and questions about whether huge ventilation fans in the Brooklyn subway tunnel that were out of order could have drawn away smoke from the electrical fire.

In Boston, federal safety officials began inspecting the trolleys involved because the operator said he had trouble braking.

"There is no indication that we know of at this time that alcohol was used on the job," said Peter Dimond, a transit spokesman. He said officials believe the operator drank before starting his shift.

Dimond said he could not release the exact alcohol test results for the 64-year-old worker, but said the operator exceeded the state's blood alcohol drunken driving limit, which is .10 percent.

The driver, whose name was not released, has been suspended without pay.

Transit officials were trying to determine whether the operator involved in the crash was the one a passenger had called to complain about just a half hour earlier.