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WMATA safety commission issues order on ATC maintenance program

The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission has ordered WMATA to improve its automatic train control inspection, maintenance and cleaning program.
Photo – WMATA Facebook


The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, which oversees the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, yesterday issued an order regarding the agency's automatic train control (ATC) inspection, maintenance and cleaning program.

The order requires WMATA to document and complete ATC quarterly inspections of each train control room (TCR) and inform the commission of identified hazards; resume, complete and document special safety inspections of each TCR and update the commission on its progress in mitigating identified issues on at least a quarterly basis; and develop and implement a corrective action plan.

"Metrorail has an ineffective and insufficient inspection, maintenance and cleaning program for automatic train control equipment, particularly including a lack of required tools, procedures and supervisory oversight for care of vital equipment housed in train control rooms, and is not maintaining the structural integrity of these ancillary rooms," commission officials said in a press release.

The commission identified urgent safety concerns in the Friendship Heights Station TCR on March 28 and shared them with WMATA the following day, requiring immediate action. Although WMATA completed most initial actions relating specifically to that station, July and August follow-ups showed the agency didn't follow through on all safety commitments to address TCRs at other stations, commission officials said.

The TCRs at various stations were found to have water damage and debris on, around and near vital ATC equipment, which could lead to malfunctions. Protecting the equipment from contaminants is "critical to life safety," commission officials said.

The commission also plans to conduct an in-depth review of WMATA's automatic train operation eight-car precision station stopping auto doors project.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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