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In response to last week's derailment on Metrorail's Blue Line, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) board will retain outside consultants to advise the board on safety issues, WMATA Chairman Paul Smedberg said yesterday.
"These independent advisers will provide the board with expert opinions, analysis and recommendations on a full range of issues concerning the safety, operations and organizational accountability of [WMATA]," Smedberg said in a prepared statement.
The advisers' areas of focus will include safety reporting, communications, inspections, roles and responsibilities, regulatory requirements, hazard identification, employee training, safety performance indicators/targets and procurement.
"This action is consistent with the board’s safety oversight role to ensure WMATA develops, implements and constantly improves processes to ensure the highest levels of safety for our customers and employees,” Smedberg added.
WMATA earlier this week suspended all of its 7000-series rail cars, or about 60% of its rail fleet, as part of an investigation into the causes of the derailment. WMATA pulled the cars as it works with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on the investigation into last week’s incident.
The NTSB found that the fourth axle of the car that derailed was out of compliance with 7000-series specifications.