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Posted at 11:13 AM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Potty breaks on Metro pocket tracks?

By Washington Post Editors

The blog Unsuck DC Metro (located at is reporting that a Metro inspector general's report (PDF) released in September detailed a problem where workers were using pocket tracks as bathrooms. The report describes a pocket track as "an area where the train can park and permit the train operator to reverse ends and travel in the opposite direction. (A pocket track outside Farragut North Station was the scene of a derailment last year).

Here is the item from the IG's report:

I.4 Use of pocket tracks as a lavatory presents safety and health risks. Participants voiced concerns that employees use the pocket tracks (an area where the train can park and permit the train operator to reverse ends and travel in the opposite direction) as a lavatory at Mount Vernon Square, Southern Avenue, and Grosvenor. This safety and health hazard is the result of inadequate time being allowed at the end of the line for train operators to have bathroom breaks. This practice causes delays in performing maintenance inspections on some ATC equipment.


We recommend that the GM direct the Deputy GM for Operations to:

1.5 Review the schedules of train operators to ensure that there are adequate allowances for bathroom and other personal breaks at the end of a line.

The inspector general's finding was one of eight items identified as part of "an unsafe work environment."

The complete list included:

1.1 Right-of-Way worksites are not properly set up. 1.2 Safety rules are often not followed by some supervisors, resulting in unsafe conditions. 1.3 Inadequate lighting presents safety hazards. 1.4 Use of pocket tracks as a lavatory presents safety and health risks. 1.5 Calibration of equipment is not completed in a timely manner. 1.6 Employees lack some personal protective equipment. 1.7 New digital radio system was deployed despite problems. 1.8 Insufficient staffing hampers the ability to meet maintenance demands and ensure safe operations

Check out the details on our potty break headline contest.

By Washington Post Editors  | January 4, 2011; 11:13 AM ET
Categories:  Metro, Metrobus  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tommy Wells named to Metro board
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I would expect nothing less from the very professional Metro 'workforce'- NOT!!!

Posted by: 10bestfan | January 3, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't pee on the third rail!

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | January 3, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not at all a fan of Metro, but this is a weak story. So someone pisses on the tracks, this isn't information that is going to improve anyones commutes.

Posted by: Gary34 | January 3, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

WMATA should be quite pissed off by such crappy behavior.

(BTW, I note that the second and third commenters are making an unwarranted assumption about which toilet activity the employees are performing on the tracks. The quoted material doesn't say which it was.)

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 3, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Contrary to the statement by Gary34 (above) preventing train operators and other employees (and patrons in some cases) from urinating and/or defecating on ATC equipment will definitely improve efficiency, safety, and commute times. For example, urine is corrosive and may cause equipment to fail. If a track switch fails and is surrounded by urine and/or feces I can guarantee you it that the ATC techs will not to be able to work on it as quickly -- maybe not until the area has been cleaned, which could take hours or -- at Metro -- days. Technicians are not issued the proper equipment to work safely in and around human waste. No one would expect their mechanic to work on their car under those conditions.

Posted by: mrnatural11 | January 3, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Metro. Where EVERY line is the Yellow Line.

Posted by: FeelWood | January 4, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh this is just great! Now Metro will need to hire a pee-pee oversight Grand Pupa. What's that salary going to be? $120,000.00 per year?!

Posted by: blackforestcherry | January 4, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they should have installed restrooms?

Posted by: staticvars | January 4, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

employees need to be given time to use the bathroom. end of story. end of problem.

Posted by: destewar | January 4, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

LOL! @ Feelwood "Metro. Where EVERY line is the Yellow Line."

Posted by: PepperDr | January 5, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I would love to piss on the people who run metro and most of the employees.

Posted by: kenk33 | January 5, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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