NTSB cited Metro car problems in 2006

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

National Transportation Safety Board officials told Metro officials three years ago the type of subway car involved in Monday’s fatal crash needed to be updated or replaced.

The Red Line train that slammed into another during the Monday-afternoon commute and killed at least nine people was made up of Series 1000 rail cars, which were described in a 2006 NTSB report as “subject to a catastrophic compromise.”

The NTSB also provided a record Tuesday of recommendations about the cars that go back seven years.

In 2002, Metro officials cited a study performed by Booz-Allen and Hamilton Inc. that found enhancing the stability of existing Metrorail cars, including the Series 1000 model, “is neither desirable or practical.”

The study said measures needed to strengthen the car could lead to more severe injuries and that other measures to improve their “crash-worthiness” would be impractical and the cost prohibitive.

The NTSB said in May 2002 that Metro’s position was “reasonable.”

However, an NTSB report on a 2004 Red Line crash that injured 20 said the failure of the underframe end structure on the 1000-series cars “may make them susceptible to ‘telescoping’ and potentially [result in] a catastrophic compromise of the occupant-survival space.”

The NTSB then issued a recommendation that Metro speed up the retirement of the rail cars or retrofit them with better collision protection.

But in 2007, Metro officials said they did not plan to overhaul the cars but instead would replace them with a 7000-series car, and that the older cars were expected to remain in service until late 2014 because the agency was constrained by leases.

“In view of [Metro’s] response to the board’s recommendation, it appears that further dialogue on this issue would prove futile,” NTSB records state.

NTSB member Debbie Hersman said Tuesday the agency recommended in 2006 that such cars be retrofitted or phased out, but Metro has failed to do that.

“The case was closed in an unacceptable status,” she said.

In a February 2008 online chat, Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said the 1000-series cars had brake problems. He vowed a thorough investigation Monday aimed at preventing such crashes in the future.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • The District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    D.C. police quietly prepping for change in law on marijuana

  • D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate David Catania, at large independent, said that although he had some concerns with the city's fiscal 2015 budget, namely the 'yoga tax,' he said issues could be addressed in next year's budget discussions. (Associated Press)

    Council overrides mayor’s veto of fiscal 2015 budget

  • 3 killed, 4 wounded Sunday in three D.C. shootings

  • D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, one of seven Democrats trying to unseat the incumbent District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in next week's primary, campaigns on Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014. Loyalists are rallying around the mayor, and few are writing him off. But his troubles have provided an opening for one of his challengers, and D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser appears to be taking advantage. Two polls released a week before the primary showed Bowser in a statistical tie with Gray.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Crime hits close to home for D.C. mayoral candidate

  • Gray

    D.C. Council to vote on Gray’s budget veto