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WMATA complies with three more NTSB safety recommendations


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has closed three more Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) safety recommendations. To date, 24 out of 29 safety recommendations issued in the wake of the 2009 Fort Totten collision have been closed.

To close the latest three recommendations, WMATA:

• conducted a comprehensive safety analysis of the Metrorail automatic train-control system to evaluate all foreseeable failures of the system that could result in a loss of train separation, and worked with train control equipment manufacturers to address all potential failure modes that could cause a loss of train detection;

• incorporated the design, operational and maintenance controls necessary to address potential failures in the automatic train-control system; and

• developed and implemented a non-punitive safety reporting system to collect reports from employees in all divisions within the organization, and ensured that the safety department, representatives of the operations, maintenance and engineering departments, and representatives of labor organizations regularly review the reports and share results across all divisions of the organization.

In the five years since the Fort Totten accident, the agency has instituted a rebuilding program focused on safety projects. WMATA was the first heavy-rail system in the United States to implement a confidential close-call reporting system that collects data not otherwise captured and provides opportunities to identify safety issues that require preventive action, agency officials said in a press release.

WMATA recently was awarded the Gold Award for safety from the American Public Transportation Association for its roadway worker protection program. In addition, National Safety Council President and former NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersmann noted that WMATA has gone "from worst to first among its peers" during a recent industry event, WMATA officials said.

The NTSB's five remaining safety recommendations involve longer-duration projects, such as the replacement of WMATA's entire 1000-series fleet with new 7000-series cars. The first of the 7000-series cars are expected to enter service later this year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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