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Metro Shares Safety Changes Ahead Of Red Line Crash Anniversary

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Metro's general manager says they have implemented more than 100 corrective safety measures since the fatal 2009 crash on the Red Line.
WMATA, photograph by Larry Levine
Metro's general manager says they have implemented more than 100 corrective safety measures since the fatal 2009 crash on the Red Line.

Members of the region's congressional delegation are meeting with top Metro officials to discuss the agency's progress. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) heads the delegation seeking answers from Metro General Manager Richard Sarles and Chief Safety Officer James Dougherty.

Overall Sarles reports more than 100 corrective measures recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board have been put in place since the Red Line crash. Among the items is the start of the design and purchase of new rail cars to replace the old series 1000 models similar to the cars crushed during the accident in 2009. The new 7000 series cars carry crashworthy technology and are scheduled to be delivered beginning in 2013 at a cost of $689 million.

In addition Sarles tells the delegation work to retrofit rollback protection on all existing older cars has been completed. This safeguard prevents the cars from rolling backwards in the event of an emergency stop. The system has also undertaken a $5 billion six-year capital program to improve reliability for passengers.

The system is 35 years old, and next Wednesday marks the second anniversary of the crash, which killed nine and injured 70.

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