Six weeks after a Metrorail train nearly ran over federal inspectors at Reagan National Airport, Metro has instituted new training and is expected to test a new automated warning system to prevent collisions with workers on the tracks.
The new training, instituted during Metro’s latest safety stand-down in November, emphasized caution and speed limits when trains approached known construction zones and underscored safety rules to workers with track access.
Meanwhile, the automated warning system—recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board in June 2008—could be tested before the end of 2016, officials said. The warning system attached to the side of the rail to detect approaching trains would trigger an audible and visual alert on the armband of a worker on the tracks. A second part of the system would trigger a similar alert for train operators approaching a work zone.
On Oct. 20, a Metrorail train nearly ran over federal inspectors walking in a blind spot in a curve near Reagan National Airport. The near-collision resulted in a weeks-long slowdown for trains on the Yellow and Blue Lines. October’s near-collision came after two separate incidents that left three Metro workers dead. In May 2006, a Metrorail train struck and killed a worker on the Red Line near Dupont Ciricle. In November 2006, a train struck and killed two other Metro workers on the Yellow Line near Eisenhower Avenue.
Ironically, the NTSB said in March that Metro was making acceptable progress to address track-worker safety.