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DC Metrorail Accident

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Guest ___

A Washington DC, Metro train collision occurred when a subway train-on-train collision happened during the afternoon rush hour of June 22, 2009. Two southbound Metrorail trains traveling on the same track on the Red Line collided in Northeast Washington, D.C., with one train telescoping onto the other. The collision killed at least nine people, trapping several occupants and injuring 70 to 100 more.It is the deadliest accident in the history of the Washington Metro

 

photowmm.jpg

 

Photo, AP via APDirect

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bc6

Wow that look horrible, I hope no more are dead.

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bikkuri bahn

According to reports, the accident was a rear end collision of two trains going in the same direction (one was stopped).  This stretch of metrorail track is on a curve, located between a set of CSX tracks.  As you can see in some pictures, one car telescoped, which gives an idea of the force of impact.

 

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/slideshow/ALeqM5g8-DEMtAE9q4i4ySQ0eV_qZefmRQD99017E80?index=0&ned=us

 

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/slideshow/ALeqM5g8-DEMtAE9q4i4ySQ0eV_qZefmRQD9900R503?index=0&ned=us

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CaptOblivious

I heard on the radio that one was stopped at a station, and was rear-ended by the other…

 

As always, my heart goes out to the families of those involved in the accident…

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Guest ___

The official report from the scene was an inbound train on track two had stopped for a red signal. For whatever reason the train behind the him departed the station on the same track and struck the stopped train. This means one of two things.

 

The trains were still in manual mode as there was single tracking earlier that prompted the trains to run manually. As a result the operator of the offending train ran throguh a red signal. OR, the offending train passed a malfunctioning signal that read green and allowed the offending train to enter an occupied block. Either way the trains were running in manual mode again.

 

This has been an ongoing problem with trains running out of ATC. Regardless we will never know what the offending train's operator had done as she was killed in the collision.

 

In the last several major wrecks on Metro, all occurred while running manually.

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Darren Jeffries

Well, this made the morning news on the BBC here in the the UK. Didn't catch how many died, but must have been pretty serious.

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Guest ___

Metro is saying just after 1700, but the first reports I heard from WTTG was about 1658.

 

Death count up to 9.

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to2leo

Supporter or not, I really hope Obama will take this opportunity to finally address the huge transit infrastructure deficit in US.

 

We had one several years ago in Toronto and we had David Gunn to make maintenance and safety priority #1.

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CaptOblivious

Metro is saying just after 1700, but the first reports I heard from WTTG was about 1658.

 

Death count up to 9.

 

MSNBC is reporting 7 as of right now…

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alpineaustralia

Made the news all day today. My little boy can running in to wake me this morning in an agitated state telling me a boy a train crash in America.

 

Our thoughts to go to all who have been affected.

Does anyone know if any members of this or any other "sister" site are affected?

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Guest ___

Metro is saying just after 1700, but the first reports I heard from WTTG was about 1658.

 

Death count up to 9.

 

MSNBC is reporting 7 as of right now…

 

MSNBC is always late to the party. Officially WMATA and NTSB have reported 9.

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Guest ___

Supporter or not, I really hope Obama will take this opportunity to finally address the huge transit infrastructure deficit in US.

 

We had one several years ago in Toronto and we had David Gunn to make maintenance and safety priority #1.

 

It's pretty unlikely. Metro has always been in this weird vortex where the funding comes from MD and VA, while DC funds a good part of it, the federal government which accounts for about 80% of the ridership never pays it way. You're always going to get the Senator from Ohio whining when the funding issue comes up about how his constitutes can't sue DC Metro in Cleveland. I'm oversimplify for the sake of avoiding the typical beltway insider politics that comes up with Metro.

 

We expected to see major changes after the rollback situation at Woodley Park Zoo. We also heard the same story about improving safety on Metro after the Shady Grove accident. I decline to give my in-depth theories at this time. No matter what spin or sensationalism the media puts on this incident, there are only two real possibilities as to what caused this incident.

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Tenorikuma

I was browsing Wikipedia's lists of train accidents, and the US doesn't have more than one multi-fatality train accident every several years or so. That's not bad at all, and certainly not worth starting a political campaign over.

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scott

Yikes--this really looks horrible. As others have said, you really have to feel for the families of the people who never made it home from a routine day at work, not to mention all those (60?) who were injured.

 

I hope we can get a straight answer about the cause (from NTSB, maybe?) and that feeds back into some corrections; it sounds like this isn't the first time the system has failed.

 

I was browsing Wikipedia's lists of train accidents, and the US doesn't have more than one multi-fatality train accident every several years or so. That's not bad at all, and certainly not worth starting a political campaign over.

 

True, but we also don't have near as much passenger-rail travel per capita as other similar countries. It'd be nice if we could eliminate signalling and control errors as a cause if we're going to try to get more service over time.

 

Reading about the accident and trying to read between the lines of Shashinka's comments, I realize how little I know about how these systems work; something to read up on, I guess.

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Guest ___

I was browsing Wikipedia's lists of train accidents, and the US doesn't have more than one multi-fatality train accident every several years or so. That's not bad at all, and certainly not worth starting a political campaign over.

 

The problem with Metro's is if you read the wiki page as ref, and look at the gap in accidents in Metro's total history and then start to see a spike several years ago which is around the same time that metro's funding has been called in to greater concern and about when serious structural and facilities started to fail. It was around the late 80's when WAMATA started to defer maintenance.

 

Up until the early 90's Metro rail was WAMTA's primary focus. As a result the Metrobus system was failing rapidly. The facilities and bus fleet was really neglected. We were still running GM New Looks and Flxible fishbowls going back to the 60's. The  fleet was in shambles, and the only buses WMATA could dump were those Neoplans (replaced by Gillgis). As a result brought forth by many fronts including reliability ridership started to severely decline. As a result, fares were raised, and routs cuts resulting in greater disarray of the bus system.

 

By the mid-90's the new GM of WAMTA shifted the focus from the rails to the bus system. Now, we have a new bus fleet, but at the cost of deferred maintenance to Metrorail. I won't even get in to the escalator debacle, but as a result of the funding restrictions brought to Metrorail, the facilities that weer maintained at a minimum level fell in to further decay. What the wiki page does not really focus on are non-injury accidents that have been running rampant on the system over the past ten years.

 

I've lost count of the service delays brought forth by broken trains, derailed trains, poor track maintenance, filled tunnels, power transformer fires. I rode a train three stops from Metro Center to Dupont circle in complete darkness as the service and Emergency lgihts failed. Considering the accident was at rush hour, a toll of 9 is pretty light with all considering. Had this been an outbound train it would have had two to three times the people onboard, and had this occurred inside the tunnel within the core, the death count could easily have been ten fold. Anyone  who has ridden the red line at rush hour downtown knows the trains exceed crush load limits.

 

Anyone who has kept tabs on Metrorail knew a catastrophic accident like this wasn't a matter of it, but, when.

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Tenorikuma

Wow, scary. Is that all run by the city of Washington?

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Guest ___

Wow, scary. Is that all run by the city of Washington?

 

The command center is located in NW DC at Metro Center, but WMATA is tri-state agency. (Ok, DC is not a state, it's a Federal City) The system is funded by Washington DC, Maryland and Virgina. Metro is however considered to be the DC city transit system.

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to2leo

In Japan those responsible will have to appologise or resign in front of the public.  I don't expect the same in DC after hearing from Shashinka.

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Guest ___

In America, the dead operator will likely be held accountable for the incident. She's a convenient scapegoat since she can not testify as to what happened. Metro will blame whoever they can to avoid the subsequent law suits that will come from the NTSB's final investigation.

 

Last I heard about 0500 this morning NTSB is focusing on the track sensors that track which train is occupying which block.

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Guest ___

UPDATE: They are thinking the ATC failed. Several sensors tested today showed FAIL during the investigation.

 

UPDATE 2: A test a little earlier tonight with a Rohr 6-car train failed to recreate or produce the results expected by the sensors suspected in the wreck. Back to square one.

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marknewton

Can anyone point me to a site that explains in detail how the Washington metro is operated/controlled? I know virtually nothing about it, but it's apparent that the operating system, control and signalling used there is very different to that of the railway I work for. Trying to make sense of mainstream media reports is a waste of time, as they are utterly out of their depth when reporting on rail-related matters. I found one reference to "radar-like sensors", by which they presumably mean a tuned RF circuit, but apart from that there's not much detail being provided.

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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Guest ___

Can anyone point me to a site that explains in detail how the Washington metro is operated/controlled? I know virtually nothing about it, but it's apparent that the operating system, control and signalling used there is very different to that of the railway I work for. Trying to make sense of mainstream media reports is a waste of time, as they are utterly out of their depth when reporting on rail-related matters. I found one reference to "radar-like sensors", by which they presumably mean a tuned RF circuit, but apart from that there's not much detail being provided.

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

 

I don't have access to the operation manuals online anymore. Since 9/11 detailed documentation and technical information are sorta on the list of "Do Not Distribute" anymore. Here's a blog entry you may find to be of soem help, though I will note some of his fact are off a bit. http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=2695

 

I've been pretty active these last few days on the blogs discussing some of the finer aspects of the operations which has drawn some attention and a subsequent conversation with some folks I'd rather not go through again this week.

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bikkuri bahn

Mark, I think they use a combination of ATC and ATO (I use the Japanese designations- American terms are different)- which system is used depends on the track segment traversed by the train.  Apparently the accident occured on a stretch governed by ATO operation (automatic operation- driver does not control throttle or breaking-except in emergencies). Shashinka likely can give you the definitive answer.

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Guest ___

The entire system is governed by ATC, but due to constant track problems brought forth by deferred maintainance and a crumbling infrastructure has resulted in the trains running under manual quite often. I apologize if I go a little mum on the topic.

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