NTSB/WMATA coverage flubs

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courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

WaPo’s consistently bad headlines are usually not worth commenting on, but having just written on this I felt it necessary to comment.

Express today contains a headline stating “NTSB urges track checks,” which is significantly wrong. The trouble components are actually housed at the stations and are believed to be passing errant signals between themselves via the shared power supplies. The problems are not out on the track but rather back in the station electronics rooms.

The more in-depth coverage of the NTSB recommendation in the main edition is better but erroneously states “The safety board did not say why the errant signals were occurring,” but in fact their findings explicitly identify a power supply transistor on the transmitter circuit resonating and feeding the signal via the shared power supply as the source of the signals.

The article also states that “Much of Metro’s track components are original equipment manufactured and installed when the Red Line was built in the 1970s. The agency is in the process of upgrading that equipment,” which is gives an inaccurate impression. While WMATA is indeed performing some upgrades as part of their ongoing maintenance they are not replacing the underlying system with a differently functioning one nor have they expressed any intention of fully replacing or revamping the train detection system. For the immediate future the train detection system currently in place will continue to be used, though the article discussed possible complementary systems that may be purchased.

The stories I checked in the Washington Times and the Examiner seem to get all the facts correct.

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


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