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Accident Report Detail

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Train Strikes Wayside Worker Near Dupont Circle Station

Executive Summary

About 10:16 a.m. on Sunday, May 14, 2006, a southbound Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail Red Line subway train struck and killed a Metrorail employee as the train was about to enter the Dupont Circle station in Washington, D.C. The employee was an automatic train control system mechanic who had been working with two other mechanics at the interlocking just north of the Dupont Circle station. All three mechanics had moved between the two main tracks north of the interlocking in order to stay clear of a northbound train that was leaving the station. As the southbound accident train was arriving, the other two mechanics remained in the clear between the two trains as they passed and were not injured. According to signal system data logs, the southbound train was moving about 40 mph as it traveled past the interlocking.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Dupont Circle accident was the failure of the automatic train control system (senior) mechanic to stay clear of the approaching southbound train either because he was not aware of the presence of the train or because he lacked a physical reference by which to identify a safe area outside the train’s dynamic envelope. Contributing to the accident were Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail right-of-way rules and procedures that did not provide adequate safeguards to protect the wayside personnel from approaching trains, that did not ensure that train operators were aware of wayside work being performed, and that did not adequately provide for reduced train speeds through work areas. Also contributing to the accident was the lack of an aggressive program of rule compliance testing and enforcement on the Metrorail system.

Accident Location: Washington , DC    
Accident Date: 5/14/2006
Accident ID: DCA06FR005

Date Adopted: 1/23/2008
NTSB Number: RAB-08-01
NTIS Number:  

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