The Daily Feed, WMATA

Faulty Computer Circuit May Be Cause

Photo courtesy of
‘emergency only – push to talk’
courtesy of ‘nevermindtheend’

Preliminary reports coming from the NTSB investigation of Monday’s Metrorail crash are indicating they’ve located a faulty computer circuit along that particular stretch of track. While the officials are reluctant to say it’s broken, they have indicated there were several “anomalies” coming from one particular circuit. According to a WTOP report on the air this morning, an internal WMATA memo indicated that the computer system may have sent the “all clear” signal instead of a “train ahead, all stop” one. An “all clear” signal would accelerate the train to the track’s top speed; in this area, it’s 59 mph.

When at that speed, the operator may not have seen the stopped train ahead in time for the emergency brakes to stop the six-car train. Fully loaded trains of that length weigh around 300 tons and need a good distance to brake.

Metro is still running trains on manual control, which gives the operators greater control over their cars. They will be working in such a mode for the foreseeable future.

The NTSB continues to stress their investigation may take over a year before arriving at a conclusive result and that the anomalies are only one discovery so far in their preliminary work.

Life in the Capital, News, The District, WMATA, WTF?!

Metro Derailment, Collision at Fort Totten, 6 Dead

Train Derail
Courtesy of WUSA-9 via Twitter & Flickr

Courtesy of NBC Washington via Twitter & Flickr

Shortly after 5pm today, two Metro Red Line trains collided just outside the Fort Totten Metro station. Systemwide delays in the middle of rush hour are now to be expected. It’s not clear at this time if there were any injuries in the trains that have collided. Metro is slicing the Red Line in half for the rest of the day with a full service interruption between Fort Totten and Brookland, and power has been cut to those tracks.

We’ll be updating this story with news.

Update 42 [8:55pm] ABC is going to be halting their coverage at 9pm this evening. Currently, they’re talking with GWU Hospital, which received 26 patients from today’s crash, most of which were “green tag” patients in need of treatment, two were red tag patients in critical condition. They’re being looked at now.

Update 41 [8:42pm] The Washington Post now has a Gallery of Photos from the Scene of today’s accident.

Update 40 [8:30pm]Mayor Fenty is starting now. There’s going to be an 8am briefing tomorrow. We’ve just visited the scene of the collision. The scene is as horrific as you can imagine. Our deepest condolences to the families of all the victims. 70+ transported off the trains to the hospital. Chief Rubin will give more information shortly. There are six fatalities confirmed on the scene right now. It will take a few hours to get through the whole scene to make sure there aren’t any other casualties.

Chief Rubin: 76 transported. 50 walking wounded (green tag), 14 yellow tag and 6 red tags and 6 fatalities. We’re continuing to staff all our stations, plus we’re relying on support from surrounding communities and we thank them. We’ve been working 3.5 hrs, 200-250 firefighters at the scene. They’re down to the two cars that are smashed together. Two responder injuries, both have been transported and are seeking treatment now at area hospitals.

Chief Lanier: Do not come to the site. New Hampshire Ave is closed from North Capitol to Eastern.

GM Catoe: Our condolences to the families who’ve lost loved ones. We’re still in investigation mode to determine the cause. We will not operate this segment until at least tomorrow. Manual mode is in effect, with reduced speeds. (this would indicate that the automatic system may be part of the problem here). Thank you to MPD and DC Fire/EMS. This is a tragic event. We will get to the bottom and find out what happened. The NTSB is involved, and we have a federal responsibility to find out what occured here today.

NTSB Examiner Kirshman: My condolences from NTSB, We know there are fatalities, and local groups will handle the announcements regarding this. There are 9 investigators and additional personnel from NTSB involved. We are working closely with local responders and the Mayor. Train 214 and Train 112 were involved in today’s crash. We will begin once they’re finished with the accident response.

Chief Rubin: The primary search is still underway. One of the train is compressed 75-80% at this point. Jaws of Life are being used. We will make sure the train is cleared, living or dead, before the investigation begins.

NTSB: We’re looking at maintenance, the tracks, and working with Metro to do initial documentation, but NOT until the accident response is complete.

FBI Agent: The FBI Evidence Response team will be participating with NTSB. We will meticulously review this scene. I caution also against assumptions about what happened and how it happened.

Chairman Graham: The board will convene at 2pm tomorrow to discuss

GM Catoe: I will not comment further until we have more detailed information. We’re in the mode of recovery. Once the investigation is complete, we’ll release information. GM Catoe looks very tired.

Update 39 [8:20pm] MPD is now requesting you call 311 to inquire about loved ones potentially injured or killed today. Do NOT call the SOC. If you’re out of the District, please call 202.737.4404 which is the Metro Accident Information Line. Continue reading