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Metro GM Describes Train Safety Steps

Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr., looking like he had aged a few years overnight, told the biggest crowd of reporters I've ever seen at a Metro board meeting that these safety precautions are in effect: Trains are being operated manually, rather than automatically. They are operating at reduced speeds. And all trains, no matter how long, are supposed to pull to the front of the platform, to avoid any chance that the rear car doors will open in a tunnel because the operator forgot how long the train was.

But he also said those moves don't reflect any conclusions -- not even inclinations -- about what caused the Red Line train crash Monday. Catoe said he would not speculate on a cause. He went on to say that there was no indication of signal failure or of operator error.

He had heard speculation about whether the operator, who died in the crash, had been somehow at fault, and was particularly animated in stating that there was "not one letter of evidence" even leaning toward a conclusion that the crash was the fault of the operator.

By Robert Thomson  |  June 23, 2009; 5:40 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Catoe, Metrorail accident, Red Line crash  
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Metro's safety record has become absolutely atrocious. I hope that this tragedy forces WMATA to truly overhaul the entire system. When is the last time you heard of such a collision in New York, a subway system that makes the Metro look like a model train? We've had two in the last five years. Enough is enough! Get Metro a dedicated revenue source and implement the NTSB's recommendations (from years ago) now!

Posted by: CrestwoodKat | June 23, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Mr. Catoe, how's this for a good first step after this disaster:
Nine counts of First Degree Murder against you!

Do you really think that running the trains manually now will make up for the five years of your criminal negligence for ignoring the NTSB's order to remove these antiquated death cars from service?!

But of course Metro had to "save money' by leaving these cars in the system. How many tens of millions in wrongful death suits has that decision cost Metro, to say nothing of the horrific cost in blood!

Shame on Catoe and the entire WMATA leadership! These passengers' blood is on your hands!

Posted by: jmohandc | June 23, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. They left the cars in service to "save money." I can see it now, Catoe and the Metro Board, going around with extra cash in their pockets. NO! The reason that they couldn't replace the rail cars, the reason that elevators and escalators are out of service all the time, the reason that the purple line and the silver line take so long to plan, the reason for all of metro's problems is that public transit is underfunded. If there is anyone at "fault" it is our legislators, not Metro, for not giving our wonderful transit system the funds that it needs to survive. Our taxpayer dollars shouldn't be paying for an intercounty connector, or HOT lanes in Baltimore or Virginia.

Read what Metro's press release said about the bus bridge from today. Buses can hold 60 people. A Metro train car can hold 100 people. Each train can hold 600-800 people, in the same space that 10-20 cars can fit on the highway. This should be a no brainer. We need more money for transit NOW!

Posted by: jcepler1 | June 23, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

HEre is more information for victims of the DC Metro crash:

Posted by: muckraker462 | June 24, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

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