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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA to outfit cars with door control, rollback protection devices


Yesterday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) board approved plans to spend more than $3.4 million to repair door control units and install rollback protection software on rail cars.

The agency will spend $2.6 million to repair door control units on 546 cars — or about half of the Metrorail fleet — by spring 2011. The units will enhance passenger safety after WMATA resumes automatic train operations. Trains have been functioning in manual mode since June 22, 2009, when a fatal train collision occurred. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the accident.

In addition, several trains that were operating in automatic mode in 2008 had their doors open on the wrong side of the tracks at station stops.

WMATA also will spend about $813,000 to install rollback protection software on all 182 of its 5000-series cars. To be installed by summer’s end, the software is designed to prevent trains from rolling backward while operating in manual mode.

WMATA’s 2000, 3000 and 6000 series cars (totaling 546 units) already feature rollback protection software. The agency now is installing rollback protection on all 288 of its 1000-series cars and soon will equip all 100 of its 4000-series cars with the software.

The installations will enable the agency to comply with a NTSB recommendation that all passenger-rail cars feature rollback protection. The NTSB issued the recommendation because of a Nov. 3, 2004, accident during which a WMATA train carrying no passengers rolled back and struck a train stopped at the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Metrorail station.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/26/2010