Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

10/07/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/07/2019 16:01

Metro releases preliminary findings into low-speed train collision

For immediate release: October 7, 2019

The investigation into the cause of a low-speed train collision outside Farragut West is ongoing, including analysis of railcar data recorders, control center event logs, and signal system playback.

While Metro has not yet identified the root cause of the incident, investigators have found no evidence of a signal system failure and have ruled out 'loss of shunt' as a cause. Data analysis shows that all trains in the area were properly detected by the signal system, and appropriate speed commands were sent to the trains to maintain safe spacing.

The investigation is also reviewing human factors as a possible cause. Formal interviews of both train operators were conducted this morning by Metro safety investigators and Washington Metrorail Safety Commission investigators, and both operators submitted to required post-incident toxicology testing. The operators will remain out of service during the investigation.

Below is a summary of preliminary findings as of 3:30 p.m. Monday, October 7:

  • A low-speed collision involving two non-passenger trains occurred at 12:54 a.m. Monday, October 7, on the eastbound track (track #1) outside Farragut West Station. The trains were returning to railyards after completing special post-baseball game trips.
  • Train 755 was stopped outside Farragut West when it was struck in the rear by Train 700 at approximately 11 mph.
  • Both trains received 'zero speed' commands from the signal system due to an occupied track ahead (a train on the platform at Metro Center).
  • Event recorders show Train 755 and Train 700 responded to the signal system commands and came to a stop, as required. The investigation is currently working to establish the sequence of events between Train 700 coming to a stop and the collision with Train 755.

Customer Information

Metro is planning to clear the railcars after the system closes tonight so as not to further disrupt service already impacted by single tracking.

Metro is encouraging all Orange, Blue, and Silver line customers to consider alternate travel modes during the PM rush hour. Trains are operating every 15 minutes on each line, even at rush hour, and Silver Line trains are operating between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston only. Significant delays and crowding are expected.

Customers traveling to tonight's Nationals game are encouraged to travel via stations on the Red, Yellow, or Green lines if possible. In the event that the game runs late, trains will continue running on all lines and Navy Yard-Ballpark Station will remain open for entries 20 minutes after the last play.

As previously announced, Metro's Rush Hour Promise was in effect on all lines this morning, but will be temporarily suspended on the Orange, Silver, and Blue lines this evening.

Metro will provide any additional service updates via MetroAlerts email/text messages, online at wmata.com, and on Twitter @wmata and @metrorailinfo.