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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-09-022
Details
Synopsis: On Monday, June 22, 2009, about 4:58 p.m., eastern daylight time, southbound WMATA Metrorail train 112 was traveling in a curve when it struck the rear end of Metrorail train 214 before reaching the Fort Totten station. There was no communication between the train operators and the Metrorail Operations Control Center before the collision. During the collision, the lead car of train 112 telescoped and overrode the rear car of train 214 by about 50 feet. Examination of the track and wreckage indicated that the emergency brake on train 112 was applied before impact. The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Service reported 9 fatalities and transported 52 persons to local hospitals.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: Require all railroads that use audio frequency track circuits in their train control systems to develop a program to periodically determine that electronic components in their train control systems are performing within design tolerances.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Washington, D.C., DC, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA09MR007
Accident Reports: Collision of Two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail Trains Near Fort Totten Station
Report #: RAR-10-02
Accident Date: 6/22/2009
Issue Date: 9/22/2009
Date Closed: 7/19/2012
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 7/19/2012
Response: The NTSB notes that the FRA has surveyed all FRA-regulated railroads to determine their use of AFTCs for train detection and has found that all the railroads were aware of the WMATA accident, subsequent recommendations, and Alstom’s notification letter to its customers. We have also been informed by Mr. Tom McFarlin, Staff Director, Signal and Train Control, that the FRA is satisfied that railroads have policies in place to test AFTCs, that no freight railroads are affected, and that no further action regarding this recommendation is necessary. SEPTA informed us that their Communication and Signals Department was updating its current Communications and Signals Maintenance and Inspection AFTC protocols. Based on (1) the FRA’s actions to survey all the railroads, (2) SEPTA’s actions to develop a program to determine that electronic components in its train control systems are performing within design tolerances, and (3) the fact that no other railroads under the FRA’s jurisdiction are affected, Safety Recommendation R-09-22 is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 12/1/2011
Response: CC# 201100449 was closed administratively; no response was written or mailed.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/7/2011
Response: CC# 201100231: - From Aaron W. Thompson, Program Analyst, Accident Analysis Branch: Please reference FRA’s report to Congress at http://www.fra.dot.gov/rrs/pages/fp_1778.shtml. Additional information is below. R-05-10: After speaking with Dennis Yachechak (OP Acting SD), it is believed FRA will take no further action with this recommendation. R-02-01: After speaking with Tom McFatlin (S&TC SD) and Ron Ries (HRX SD), it is believed FRA will take no further action with this recommendation. R-09-21: After speaking with Tom McFatlin (S&TC SD), it is believed FRA will take no further action with this recommendation. R-09-22: After speaking with Tom McFatlin (S&TC SD), it is believed FRA will take no further action with this recommendation. R-03-12: After speaking with Bob Lauby (Dep. Assoc. Administrator for Regulatory and Legislative Ops.), it is believed FRA will take no further action with this recommendation. FRA will support Amtrak’s actions regarding this recommendation.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/12/2011
Response: -From Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation: NTSB Classification and Actions Taken by FRA: Open – Acceptable Response. FRA has surveyed all FRA-regulated railroads to determine their possible use of audio frequency track circuits for train detection. FRA field personnel contacted appropriate representatives of every railroad to determine their awareness of this recommendation and the circumstances involved in the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) accident that precipitated it. Various railroads reported using a form of audio frequency track circuits; however, all but one instance involved uses of a totally different nature that did not implicate the same safety concerns. In one instance, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) was found to use the same type of circuitry, but only on a branch line. Further, SEPTA was fully aware of the NTSB’s findings and recommendations related to the WMATA accident and had already tested each such circuit. In addition, SEPTA had already revised its associated circuitry testing procedures so as to identify any similar condition, and had enhanced its monitoring of the circuitry by increasing the periodic testing interval from yearly to monthly. FRA believes that the purpose of the recommendation has been fulfilled. Actions Needed to Be Taken by FRA: None.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 5/18/2010
Response: The NTSB is pleased that the FRA has surveyed all FRA-regulated railroads to determine their possible use of audio frequency track circuits for train detection and that the railroads were all aware of the WMATA accident and subsequent recommendations. We are also pleased that the FRA will contact the railroads that utilize these circuits and determine exactly what measures each railroad has taken or will undertake concerning the examination and elimination of any possible failures in similar audio frequency track circuits and the ongoing monitoring of these components. As the FRA’s actions satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation R-09-20, this recommendation is classified Closed Acceptable Action. Pending completion of the FRA’s followup with each affected railroad, Safety Recommendations R-09-21 and -22 are classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. The NTSB is interested in the outcome of the initiatives described above and would like to be updated as actions proceed.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/22/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 11/3/2009 3:14:08 PM MC# 2090666: - From Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator: 49 CFR § 236.11 Section 236.11 requires a carrier to investigate and determine the cause of a signal aspect that is not in accordance with known operating conditions, or a signal system component that fails to perform its intended signaling function, and that any failed signaling component that adversely affects the safety of train operation shall be adjusted, repaired, or replaced without undue delay. These requirements certainly include that any known occurrence of an occupied track circuit not detecting a standing train be promptly investigated and that the necessary adjustment, repair, or replacement shall be performed by the railroad. FRA staff will also ascertain what program each railroad has in place or will institute to periodically determine that electronic components in their signal or train control systems are performing within design tolerances. Therefore, FRA respectfully requests that, until the agency is able to further address these safety recommendations through direct follow-up with each affected railroad it regulates, the NTSB classify Safety Recommendation R-09-22 as Open-Acceptable Response.