May 20, 2010 | Mark Paradies

NTSB Press Release About WMATA Rail Accident Investigations

National Transportation Safety Board

Washington, DC 20594

May 20, 2010




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


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


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


* Other items reviewed included observation of power-

operated switches at the accident.

* Issues subject to additional investigation include

operator performance and operating procedures.

# # #

Media contact (Fort Totten and West Falls Church):

Bridget Ann Serchak


Terry N. Williams (Rockville and Farragut North):


Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *