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Metro Marks Somber Anniversary

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Emergency personnel investigate the scene of the Metro train collision on June 22, 2009. Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Emergency personnel investigate the scene of the Metro train collision on June 22, 2009. Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Four years ago Saturday, 9 people were killed in the worst accident in D.C. Metro’s history.

On June 22, 2009, a train leaving the Takoma Station on the Red Line rear-ended another train that was stopped on the tracks, waiting to pull into Fort Totten. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on the accident says a failure of train-detection equipment was the direct cause.

Among the contributing factors listed in the report, though, is Metro’s “lack of a safety culture,” and its failure to replace the 1000-series railcars. The train that was moving when the collision occurred was made up entirely of 1000-series cars. All of the fatalities were aboard that train. And some of the 1000-series cars are still around today.

In fact, the aged cars were blamed for intercom problems on trains just this week.

And, Metro General Manager Richard Sarles tells Channel 9, it will still be a few years before they are completely out of rotation.

The NTSB says most but not all of their recommendations for Metro following the crash have been followed up on.

“We have begun to see the beginning of a safety culture shift from one that was reactive to one that is proactive in taking steps to solve and correct issues, so that issues don’t become problems,” Sarles said in 2010.

That shift included a change in operations of trains to manual mode and the institution of twice-daily evaluations of track circuits. More recently, a “Close Call Transit Safety Reporting System” was launched.

The Washington Post reports that all lawsuits stemming from the crash have been settled. The Post has also reported that payouts totaled more than $1.5 million.

WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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