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Rail News: Safety

WMATA investigates track machine derailment in Virginia


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is investigating yesterday's derailment of a piece of track equipment within a work zone between stations in Arlington and Falls Church, Va.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight on Tuesday and caused no injuries, WMATA officials said in a press release.

The track machine that derailed is known as a "spiker," which installs rail spikes into wood ties to hold rail in place.

A passing Silver Line train reported that it might have made contact with the mirror of the machine, WMATA officials said. That train was stopped, inspected, deemed safe and continued to East Falls Church, where passengers were transferred to a different train to continue their trips.

The machine operator and other employees that were directly involved have been temporarily removed from service during WMATA's investigation. In addition, overnight work in the area was suspended to allow for a safety review.

The incident did not affect yesterday morning's passenger service, agency officials said.

News of the derailment comes as WMATA continues to roll out its "SafeTrack" maintenance plan. As part of the plan, the agency tomorrow is expected to wrap up a 13-day continuous single-track repair project on a segment where the machine derailed. The track segment is used by both Orange and Silver line trains.

The SafeTrack plan calls for carrying out a total of 15 long-duration track outages on key segments.