Manual Train Operation To Continue, Catoe Says
Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr, looking tired and drawn, held a press conference at Metro headquarters in Washington this afternoon to report on the aftermath of the June 22 train wreck and what riders can expect.
Red Line: The speed limit on the entire line will remain at 35 mph until the National Transportation Safety Board has finished its work in the crash zone between Takoma and Fort Totten and Metro has done a complete review of safety conditions there. Catoe set no deadline for that, but Metro hopes to have trains operating at regular speeds by July 4.
Many of you have been asking why trains throughout the line must adhere to the speed limit. "The slower speed throughout the Red Line is to help us regulate the flow of trains," Catoe said.
All trains: Manual control throughout the Metrorail system is a much longer-term prospect. Answering a question, Catoe said it might continue for a month, a year, two years -- as long as it takes to be sure that the automatic train controls are safe.
"Without commenting on the NTSB investigation," Catoe said in his opening statement, "it is safe to say that the automatic train control system is designed to prevent collisions, yet the collision happened. I felt that it was wise to place the trains in manual mode, while we investigate each of the 3,000 track circuits installedon our rail system. To date, we have checked 65 percent of those circuits and they have all passed inspection."
Catoe said later that it should take a few more days to check the rest of them.
Continuing with his statement: "In addition, as an added precaution, we will not put our trains back into automatic mode until we have a group of train signal experts from outside Metro come and evaluate our system and our procedures for using it."
Deputy General Manager Gerald Francis will be responsible for the implementation of the safety team's recommendations, Catoe said.
Many riders already have been through a long period of manual control. This occurred a few years back when Metro discovered a problem in the track relays that are essential to safe train operations. That period of operator control lasted two years.
The 1000 Series cars: Catoe spoke at length about what Metro is doing concerning the oldest rail cars in the fleet, the ones that made up the train that hit the other train last week.
"I have been given no indication that any of the root causes of this accident were due to the use of the 1000 Series rail cars," he said in his statement. These cars are the oldest part of our fleet, but they are safe to operate, and they have been maintained and rehabilitated throughout their 30 to 35 years of use."
Still, he said, the transit authority has decided to place those cars in the center of trains, with the fleets newer cars on each end. He said that about 80 percent of that shuffling project has been completed, and the rest of it should be done in a few days.
That will cause some problems, but not safety problems, he said. For example, the electronic displays in the newest cars that show the next stop will not function properly with the older cars in the middle of the train set. As a result, the signs will not show the next stop.
June 30, 2009; 4:43 PM ET
Categories: Metro , Safety | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line crash, delays
Save & Share: Previous: Live Blogging the Metro Press Conference
Next: Red Line Trains Not Doing Normal Turnbacks
Posted by: JackTrade | June 30, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 30, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nighttrain | June 30, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 30, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nighttrain | June 30, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DupontJay | June 30, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: vtavgjoe | June 30, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bb67chev | June 30, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: thetan | June 30, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DOEJN | July 1, 2009 3:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: DellC | July 1, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.