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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

NTSB examines second electrical-arcing incident at WMATA


As part of its ongoing investigation into the Jan. 12 smoke event that occurred on a train in a tunnel near the L'Enfant Plaza Station in Washington, D.C., the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now looking into another smoke and electrical arcing incident on a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) train.

On Feb. 11, a WMATA train operator on the Orange Line reported smoke in a tunnel as the train approached the Rosslyn Station after leaving the Court House Station. The operator returned the train to the Court House Station, and no injuries occurred, according to an NTSB press release.

NTSB officials are now examining the electrical components to determine if there are similarities to the Jan. 12 accident near L'Enfant Plaza. In that case, an electrical arcing event caused smoke to fill a WMATA Metrorail train. One rider died in the incident.

The board's investigation into the Jan. 12 accident includes constructing a timeline of the emergency response efforts between the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the D.C. Office of Unified Communications and WMATA; examining radio systems with a focus on interoperability between WMATA and first responders; reviewing control operator training programs; and testing train ventilation systems and related procedures.

Also, the NTSB will hold a fact-finding hearing June 23-24 to explore other issues related to the investigation.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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