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NTSB Issues Updates on Three Washington Metrorail Accident Investigations; Announces Board Meeting Date for 2009 Red Line Collision Investigation in Washington, D.C.
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 NTSB Issues Updates on Three Washington Metrorail Accident Investigations; Announces Board Meeting Date for 2009 Red Line Collision Investigation in Washington, D.C.

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a Board meeting on July 27, 2010, to consider a final report on its investigation of the June 22, 2009, fatal accident involving the collision of two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) trains in between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations on the Red Line in Washington, D.C.

The NTSB is currently investigating three additional accidents that occurred on the WMATA Metrorail system between November 2009 and February 2010. These investigations are being conducted simultaneously with the ongoing June 2009 investigation. A brief description of each accident and the status of the NTSB investigations is below. Further updates will be provided as the investigations proceed.

West Falls Church VA, WMATA Yard Collision

On November 29, 2009, a six-car WMATA train struck the rear of a stopped six-car WMATA train at the West Falls Church Rail Yard in Falls Church, Virginia. No passengers were on either train at the time of the collision, but the operator of the striking train and two cleaning crew employees on the struck train sustained minor injuries.

  • An inspection of the mechanical systems (car braking and propulsion) and train control system found no anomalies. The track circuits operated as designed.
  • The event data recorders on the striking train were inoperative. However, NTSB was able to extract recorded speed data from other on-board equipment.
  • Issues subject to additional investigation include operator performance and crashworthiness of the 1000 series rail cars.

Rockville MD, WMATA Maintenance Accident

On January 26, 2010, two WMATA Metrorail automatic train control (ATC) maintenance technicians were struck and fatally injured by a hi-rail vehicle, approximately 0.9 miles north of the Rockville Metro Station on the Red Line. The two employees were replacing an impedance bond on the northbound track. The workers in the hi-rail vehicle were moving their vehicle in preparation for inspecting and replacing third-rail cover boards between the Shady Grove and Rockville stations. While traveling in reverse, the hi- rail vehicle struck and fatally injured the ATC technicians.

  • Inspection of the hi-rail vehicle, including vehicle performance, has been completed.
  • A sight distance test has been completed.
  • Review of radio and internal telephone communication has been completed.
  • Issues subject to additional investigation include on- track protection rules, on-track protection training, and the design, development and approval process of training program material related to on-track protection.

Farragut North, Washington, D.C., WMATA Derailment

On February 12, 2010, WMATA Metrorail train 156 derailed the front set of wheels on the first car near the Farragut North station in Washington, D.C. Train 156 was a six-car train, carrying approximately 300 passengers, traveling on the Red Line segment of the Metrorail system toward the White Flint station.

Investigators have conducted interviews with WMATA employees involved. Investigators have reviewed audiotapes of conversations between the Operations Control Center and involved train operators. Onboard event recorder data has been collected and examined by investigators in the NTSB laboratory. An inspection of mechanical systems (car braking and propulsion) and the train control system found no anomalies. Other items reviewed included observation of power- operated switches at the accident. Issues subject to additional investigation include operator performance and operating procedures.

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Contact: NTSB Media Relations
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594
 
 
 

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