More Track Circuit Failures on Metro

Photo courtesy of
‘Navy Memorial’
courtesy of ‘Tony DeFilippo’
So, you know how Metro GM John Catoe said that they’ve inspected all 3,000 track circuits since the crash on June 22nd and haven’t found any problems? Yeah, not so much. According to the Post, Metro employees started finding faulty track circuits 5 days before that statement. Thanks, Mr. Catoe! There are 6 bad circuits found as part of the investigation into the crash, as well as 7 more that may have been found during the course of other maintenance activities.

Interestingly, Metro staff is disabling the faulty circuits. This causes a stretch of rail where the computers can’t control the train, so the train must be manually driven by the operator. Which is demonstrably better than automatically driven over a faulty circuit as far as keeping the trains spaced appropriately, but which tends to create delays, as manual control goes much slower, and only one train can be on that stretch of track at a time. Meanwhile, the disabled circuit blinds the central control staff, AND can’t detect track problems that can lead to derailment.

Disabling the circuit seems like the kind of thing that makes sense for a couple of days until a replacement part can be installed, but this is now going on a couple of weeks of potentially cascading delays caused by disabled circuits, meanwhile, Catoe is telling us, Baghdad Bob-like, that everything is FINE, there are no circuit problems within 100 miles of your Metro train.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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One thought on “More Track Circuit Failures on Metro

  1. I hope the NTSB, among others, will be asking Mr. Catoe and other Metro officials how they justify telling outright lies about the track circuits.

    And I still don’t understand why Metro is only trying to detect these faulty circuits twice a day. All it takes is one familiar to cause another catastrophe.