NTSB: Failure Of Train Signal Led To Metro Crash | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

NTSB: Failure Of Train Signal Led To Metro Crash

Play associated audio

By SARAH BRUMFIELD Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) A faulty electronic circuit that caused a deadly 2009 Metro crash in Washington was symptomatic of an ``anemic safety culture'' at the D.C. area's transit agency, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

Eight passengers and a train operator were killed in June 2009 when a Metrorail train rear-ended a second-train stopped before the Fort Totten station.

As expected, the NTSB concluded that the collision occurred because Metro's automatic signal system failed to detect the presence of the stopped train. The operator of the approaching train was told to continue traveling at 55 mph. She pulled the emergency brake, but the train was still traveling at more than 40 mph at the moment of the collision.

More broadly, the NTSB said Metro ignored repeated warning signs and fostered a culture of indifference to chronic safety issues. The agency was warned about deficiencies in its safety department for 15 years before the crash, NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman said.

"If they don't listen this time, I'm not sure what else can be done here," Hershman said. "There's got to be some action; there's got to be some change. There needs to be better oversight."

The NTSB faulted Metro's board of directors for failing to actively monitor safety issues. The track signaling system failed to recognize trains 3,000 times a week, but the issue was deemed a minor nuisance, the NTSB said.

In her opening remarks, Hersman said the Fort Totten station crash was not the first time Metro's safety system was compromised. Previous accidents, some of which killed employees, foreshadowed the deadlier crash, she said.

"Because the necessary preventive measures were not taken, the only question was when would Metro have another accident, and of what magnitude," Hersman said.

Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat, Lauren Sausser, Jessica Gresko and Ben Nuckols in Washington, and Brian Witte in Annapolis, Md., contributed to this report. (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

NPR

Curb Your Appetite: Save Bread For The End Of The Meal

A hot bread basket is a tasty way to start off dinner. But all those carbs before the main fare can amp up appetite and spike blood sugar. Saving the carbs for the end of the meal can help avert that.
NPR

Why You Should Thank A Caterpillar For Your Mustard And Wasabi

Eons ago, cabbage butterfly larvae and the plants they eat began an evolutionary arms race. The result: "mustard oil bombs" that give the plants, and condiments we make from them, distinctive flavors.
WAMU 88.5

Troubles In Puerto Rico And Greece And What They Mean For Other Economies

Puerto Rico's governor says the U.S. territory cannot pay its billions in debt. Like Greece, it faces a long road to stability. We look at the fundamental economic problems in Puerto Rico and Greece, and how they could affect economies in the U.S. and worldwide.

WAMU 88.5

Pop Culture Trends in Video Gaming

More women on screen and more exploration are among the trends in video gaming this year. Tech Tuesday explores how pop culture and new technology are changing the gaming experience.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.