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Some Metro Riders Avoid Front, Rear Cars

Metro workers and commuters say there is a noticeable emptiness this morning in the front and rear cars of some trains, a possible reaction to the news that the people killed and badly injured in Monday's Red Line crash had been sitting in those parts of the train.

A Post reporter, who took the Red Line from Union Station to Farragut North this morning, said that the train was only about two-thirds full. The front car was almost completely empty, while the last car was only about one-third to half-full.

Dozens of Twitter users posted that they too would be avoiding the first and last metro cars at least during today's commute, following Monday's crash:

seemingly: "I'm scared to sit in the first/last car of Metro now... Even if it's right by the escalator."
dancefit27: "Will park and then take Metro to The National Gallery of Art tomorrow morning. We'll sit in the middle cars."
ajpresto714: "Note to self: after the Metro accident ... make sure to sit in a 'middle' car."

At the Fort Totten station several people who had just arrived on a bus shuttle from Silver Spring hopped on the first car, looked around, thought better of it, then hopped off and moved to the second car. Callers to a morning radio sation said they had seen similar reluctance on other trains as well.

But Demetrius Whitsey, 28, an electrician's helper from Hyattsville, wasn't worried. He boarded the train and Fort Totten and moved right to the very front seat.

"It's like second nature. I just came in and sat down," he said. It wasn't until the train started to move and he looked over his shoulder at the long expanse of track ahead that Whitsey thought of Monday's crash.

Most other passengers in the first car were bunched at the back.

"I'm not too worried about it," Whitsey said as the train moved toward Brookland.
-- John Kelly

By Washington Post Editor  |  June 24, 2009; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  Metro , Safety , transit  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Metro Shouldn't Be Railroaded on 1000 Series Cars
Next: How Not to Commute Today

Comments

Could WMATA run the older 1000-series cars in the middle of the trains? The newer cars have better structures and data recorders.
My wife has told me that I can't ride in the front or back car for a while.

Posted by: KS100H | June 24, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I noticed this yesterday during evening rush hour at L'Enfant. Train after train would go by with virtually no one in the first two cars -- and this was before the Nats game! Everyone was clustered toward the middle of the platform. Cops were trying to spread people out along the various cars to speed up loading, but the daily commuters wouldn't budge. Several commuters were talking on the platform about how odd the empty cars were and that they wouldn't be getting on the first cars.

The only people I saw getting on the first cars at L'Enfant were tourists, remarking about how they didn't understand why everyone was standing down there when these empty cars were up here. Guess they haven't been paying attention to the news!

Posted by: pentagoncity1 | June 24, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

My experiences in the last two days have absolutely supported this. My usual commute requires me to exit the far north end of the Dupont and King Street stops, so I've grown accustomed to the front and rear cars. I've enjoyed some noticeable extra leg room lately.

Posted by: Jack45 | June 24, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Also, I want to note that the train I took from Capitol South Tuesday evening to L'Enfant had 1000 Series cars at the front. How about changing that, Metro? Put them in the middle

Posted by: pentagoncity1 | June 24, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

When I get on the Metro, I head straight for the doors at the end of the car that lead to the next car, climb on top of the train and then ride on the roof, like Spiderman. That way I can see if trouble is coming and jump off in time.

Posted by: woody2471 | June 24, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Silly knee jerk reaction. But I'll take my extra room and still ride in the last car as usual. I wonder if these people only ride in the backseat of cars too because they are safer from flying through the windshield there.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | June 24, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I noticed this too yesterday evening on my way home. There were three of us brave enough to sit in the 1st car. I agree with UMDTerpsGirl and Jack45...I'll take the extra room anytime!

Posted by: lovelav325 | June 24, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The front and rear cars are usually "noticably" empty. I always ride in those cars due to where my exit is on the platform. Herd mentality also causes the middle cars to be packed while the end cars are, by comparison, uncrowded. I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that the Post writers don't normally ride Metro or they would have already known this little fact. But then again, they need to sell those papers.

Posted by: clamb1 | June 24, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Planes have been crashing for years all over the World and people get right back on them.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime event people, so go back to doing what you have been doing.....

Posted by: ENJOYA | June 24, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The end cars tend to be emptier anyway.

It isn't realistic to mandate that the 1000 Series cars be in the middle of all the trains. The risk of telescoping in an accident still exists under some scenarios, and as trains are lengthened and shortened over the course of the day, what was the middle of the train can become the front (or rear). A better solution would be for the powers that be to give WMATA the dedicated funding source and other capital funds that have been needed for years to maintain and upgrade the equipment. You can't exactly blame WMATA for making certain decisions about what spending priorities should be with the cash that it actually had.

Posted by: FHMetro | June 24, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

woody247: Awesome!

Posted by: wahoo3 | June 24, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

clamb1 is absolutely right. The front and back are always less crowded, except in places like Gallery Place where the main transfer point is toward one end. At Grosvenor this morning, with trains running only once every 6-8 minutes and no empty trains being added to the line, folks were standing in the end cars. I wish more of them went to the middle so I could have gotten a seat.

Posted by: PotoMack | June 24, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Do people realize that if they sit in the middle, their chances of getting hurt during a derailment are high? When a train derails, the middle cars are the ones that end up jumping off the tracks. Pretty much there isn't one "safe" car to sit in. If people want to believe they are safer in the middle than the front or back, more room for other people in those sections.

Posted by: lawkat73 | June 24, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

woody2471...you've got me in tears!!! thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: smokescreen4x | June 24, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I rarely comment here, but I just want to offer some tidbits of info.

First off, the front and rear cars are ALWAYS the least crowded on Metro trains. Ever heard of the “bell-curve”? It applies to Metro trains too. I always ride on the front car, because it is ALWAYS the least crowded. I take Metro every day. People just tend to walk towards the middle of the platform, it is human nature. So this article is a little misleading. And to all those wondering if Metro is safe. You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than being killed on Metro. This was metro’s first fatal accident in 27 years involving customers. 27 years!!

Consider this, Metro handles about 700,000 trips on any given weekday on average. That’s 3.5 million trips per week. Multiply that by 52, you get 182,000,000 trips per year (on average). Multiply that by 27, you get 4,914,000,000. That’s nearly 5 BILLION trips without a fatality due to an accident. That is remarkable. I am not “defending” Metro, I am simply stating facts. You actually safer on Metro than you are crossing the street. Just think about it. Numbers don’t lie. Metro has an amazing safety record, despite this recent tragedy. My heart goes out to everyone involved. Hopefully they can find the cause and take preventative measures.

Posted by: cj658 | June 24, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Sit in the front or back without fear. You see, each has been "pre-disastered", i.e. the chance of it happening again is quite small, if you think about it. Just more room for the rest of us, it's as simple as that, folks!

Posted by: JimGoldbloom1 | June 24, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

FridayKnight's comment was reprehensible, not just for what it implies about the operator of the train in Monday's accident, who as far as we know now attempted to avoid an as-yet unexplained accident, but for suggesting that it is still OK to make broad-based sexist comments on what jobs women can and can't have. It's not OK even as a joke.

Posted by: dearmint | June 24, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It isn't realistic to mandate that the 1000 Series cars be in the middle of all the trains. The risk of telescoping in an accident still exists under some scenarios, and as trains are lengthened and shortened over the course of the day, what was the middle of the train can become the front (or rear).

Posted by: FHMetro | June 24, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

--------------------

So what? So you just ignore the problem? Put them in the middle where possible.

This sounds like the excuse about why Metro trains can't all stop in one place to avoid over-running the stations. Some people are used to boarding at a certain location.

So what?!? They'll adjust. This isn't rocket science. Do the best job with what you've got.

Posted by: ghokee | June 24, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

In this particular case, the front car hit the back car, and the deaths were in those cars. It should be fortunate luck that the middle cars didn't derail and more deaths didn't occur in those cars. It has happened in other cases. And what do those people do...they'd rather sit in the end cars.

Eventually, the crash will be forgotten about, and people will return to their old habits.

It's like when people claim that the front of the airplace (or is it the rear?) is safer in a crash. In most cases, it doesn't matter where you sit - in the very few airplane crashes that actually occur, either everyone lives, everyone dies, or there's a mixture all throughout the cabin.

Posted by: roadnut | June 24, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

A quibble with cj658's math -- individual passenger totals/trips isn't the right yardstick. There aren't 700,000 "trips" made by these trains every day (35,000 station stops at 47 stations, give or take). Maybe 700-800 on average? I don't know. Obviously you have to account for rush-hour, non-rush/weekend. Five lines by however many trips the trains make from end to end would be a better calculation.

Yes, Metro has a good safety record -- as it should.

Posted by: Fallen1 | June 24, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Fallen: Your point is well taken, I see what you’re saying. But, I was referring to individual passenger trips. If you look at WMATA’s daily ridership numbers, they handle 700,000 passenger trips per day, meaning 700,000 trips amongst the individual passengers, NOT the individual trains.

It essentially means 700,000 people pass through the fare-gates every weekday. So my original number of 5 billion is correct. It means that all those fare-gates have opened up 5 billion times in the past 27 years. When you think about it, it is unbelievable. Perhaps I should have re-worded it in my original statement, but even if we use your method of “train” trips, the safety record is still remarkable.

Posted by: cj658 | June 24, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Same people who are scared to sit in the front car are the same people who think nothing of texting while driving, with an artery-clogging burger and fries on the seat next to them.

We have no sense of relative risks.

Posted by: DupontJay | June 24, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I should say: “the fare-gates opens 700,000 times per day”. Many of those trips are the same people returning home from work.

Posted by: cj658 | June 24, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree with dearmint re FridayKnight's joke, but only to the extent that the joke is reprehensible - it's a free country, joke about anything. But the only evidence that has come out so far indicates that Jeanice McMillan died tried to stop that train. Which would make her actions heroic in my eyes.

So please, FridayKnight, quit it with the stupid cruelty. Having the internet courage to denigrate another human being is a poor substitute for actual real life courage.

Posted by: why1201 | June 24, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice that the post reporter magically took the RED LINE from Union Station to Farragut WEST instead of NORTH? LOL

"Post reporter, who took the Red Line from Union Station to Farragut West"

Posted by: megankp | June 24, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

If you cheat death by avoiding the front and rear cars of the train, death will eventually find you. Have we learned nothing from the Final Destination franchise?

Posted by: Axel2 | June 24, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_systems_by_annual_passenger_rides
Washington,D.C.'s metro is not even in the top 20 worldwide for passengers>

Posted by: chesapeaketerp | June 24, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The front car of my train this morning was like a sardine can it was so full!!

Posted by: Diner65 | June 24, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Red is farragut north, i get off at farragut west and it's orange and blue i work with a bunch of red line people and it's north.


also i never ride the end or the front, no thanks end is too far to walk and front i don't like it i feel it isn't as smooth. I prefer 2nd or 3rd car in maybe 4th depending on the stop i get off at. I find it annoying everyone who use to go to the ends now want the middle. As a loyal middle rider for 3 years i get annoyed i can't have my window seat always. I like to sleep, nothing better to do long ride. I also can't read i get sick, and music is annoying when everyone can hear your personal system.

Posted by: redsoxprincess88 | June 24, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Red is farragut north, i get off at farragut west and it's orange and blue i work with a bunch of red line people and it's north.


also i never ride the end or the front, no thanks end is too far to walk and front i don't like it i feel it isn't as smooth. I prefer 2nd or 3rd car in maybe 4th depending on the stop i get off at. I find it annoying everyone who use to go to the ends now want the middle. As a loyal middle rider for 3 years i get annoyed i can't have my window seat always. I like to sleep, nothing better to do long ride. I also can't read i get sick, and music is annoying when everyone can hear your personal system.

Posted by: redsoxprincess88 | June 24, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I always sit in the last car because I hypothesize that it is the car least likely to be targeted by a terrorist. Since the Metro accident, I still sit in the last car, but I now I make sure to sit in the front of the last car away from a potential point of impact. Sheesh, the precautions one must take!

Posted by: dcheretic | June 24, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

You have a much better chance of dying behind the wheel of a car or crossing the street coming off the metro.

People will do what they want to do though...

Posted by: SA-Town | June 24, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Here's the irony: the same people who avoid the first and last cars for "safety" reasons will then get off Metro and go straight to their cars - to enter area traffic, where there is a bigger chance that they will be hurt. Huh?

Posted by: CubsFan | June 24, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The metro accident was an awful tragedy. I First, I respect all the comments. Second-I generally ride on the front because it is closest to the escalators at Union station. Finally, in my opinion, if it is your time, It is your time. Thank You.

Posted by: tonya2800 | June 24, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I think Metro should make available only cars in the middle. There, that settles it.

Posted by: semitone | June 24, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I must be unlucky because getting on at Cleveland Park and getting off at Dupont Circle had every single car packed to the gills, even front and back cars. Maybe they all got off before they got to the other stations people are seeing the emptiness at...

Posted by: Jen11 | June 24, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Same phenomenon happened on the MARC trains, what was it, 15 years ago? When they had their big crash and many riders in the front car died in the resulting fire. For the next few weeks after that, the front cars of trains were VERY empty. But soon enough, practicality set in (those trains could get very crowded) and rider distribution went back to pre-crash levels.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 24, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Re DupontJay's "Same people who are scared to sit in the front car are the same people who think nothing of texting while driving, with an artery-clogging burger and fries on the seat next to them."

I agree completely. Kinda like re child molesting/kidnappings, there seems to be a general hysteria about the ubiquitous "strangers", while in fact like 90% of the time the perpetrator is a relative / close friend.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 24, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

ghokee:

Neither you nor anyone else knows how a different type of railcar would fare in these situations because the last two WMATA trains to telescope happened to be 1000 Series cars. It also just so happens that the initial cause of the Woodley Park incident had nothing to do with the 1000 Series cars themselves, though if rollback detection were installed on that train, the accident would have almost certainly not happened.

If you think your commute has been bad the past few days, just imagine what it will be like if 25% of the fleet were retired today or if dispatchers had to make sure the 1000 Series cars were never at the end of the train. You won't like it.

Posted by: FHMetro | June 24, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I generally take the bus. It's cheaper, easier to exit in an emergency, provides a view, and takes me closer to where I want to go. It is more communal, same people much of the time, and allows me to avoid the ridiculously long escalator at my nearby Metro station. I love the bus. I just wished Metro cared even a tiny bit as much about the bus system as it does the rail system.

Posted by: Leila1 | June 24, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

woody2471: good one!

Posted by: nojunk4me | June 24, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Woody2471 who said, "When I get on the Metro, I head straight for the doors at the end of the car that lead to the next car, climb on top of the train and then ride on the roof, like Spiderman. That way I can see if trouble is coming and jump off in time."

My comment to woody2471: So YOU are the other guy on top!!

Posted by: Truth-Be-Told | June 24, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Woody2471, just make sure you don't end up like Dennis Hopper in Speed!

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 24, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I always ride in the front or rear cars because a) it's more convenient on my commute, b) they are typically less full than the middle cars -- even before the accident, and c) I figure that if anyone wanted to put a bomb on the metro (actually more likely than a crash), it seems most likely that they'd pick to bomb the middle of the train where they'd get the most casualties and greatest impact.

Posted by: chickytava | June 24, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

My classmates are trying to figure this out: Does anyone know if there were survivors or not severely injured passengers who were riding in the first car of the striking train? Were any passengers killed who were in the last car of the sitting train?

Posted by: shejoy | June 24, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Not what I've seen on the Red Line (from Van Ness to Union Station) both yesterday and today. First car was packed, to and from work. Though, that train was unusually full anyway.

Posted by: peej_08 | June 24, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Why not place what could be termed, "Barrier Cars" -- one at the front and one at the back of the train. Those cars could be *designed* to take up the shock of running into another train. Maybe they could be filled with surplus sponges or some such.

Posted by: Truth-Be-Told | June 24, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

1000 series cars should ABSOLUTELY be placed in the middle of sets of train cars. Or, just maybe, they shouldn't be used at all.

Posted by: riotheokie | June 24, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

the accident isn't going to scare me from riding the end cars. I rode both of them this morning and after the game last night. The middle of the trains were packed though.

Posted by: cbmuzik | June 24, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, this morning at Dupont Circle station, I normal get on the back of the train but there were people standing of everyone. I noticed that the first car was almost empty. I guess I had to move 5 times at each metro stop going to Twinbrook to find a seat! I guess people are afraid but they don't recongize you die in any train car equally~

Posted by: bobby12320007 | June 24, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm amused to find out that I'm not the only one who sits in the front car because I figure "a terrorist bomb would more likely be in a middle car" (in addition to being less crowded and closer to my stop's escalator). I know it's silly to think that way...but I guess we all have our ways of coping with fear.

Posted by: sunny617 | June 24, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Call me a sexist if you want for not getting on board with a woman operator, but if you do you also have to call me something else: ALIVE.

Posted by: FridayKnight | June 24, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

There is no need to ridicule the people who do not want to sit in those cars. Just let them be; it is just the initial shock of the situation and people will get over it. The same thing happens right after a plane crash...

Posted by: BT23 | June 24, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

If you refuse to ride in the first or last car of a metro train, the terrorists win.

Posted by: Axel2 | June 24, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

My classmates are trying to figure this out: Does anyone know if there were survivors or not severely injured passengers who were riding in the first car of the striking train? Were any passengers killed who were in the last car of the sitting train?


I wonder the samething what train were the passengers killed sitting?

Posted by: bobby20 | June 24, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I usually ride in the last car for the extra room. However since Metro is now pulling to the front of the station the end car now seems as full as the middle cars, at least on the Orange Line.

Posted by: josh703 | June 24, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I ride the Orange line and our train was off loaded this morning at Cheverly due to brake issues. We had standing room only all the way to L'Enfant Plaza but I didn't even look at the first car. I kissed my 12 year old daughter good bye this morning and she said "Sit in the middle Mommy." Most of the cars on the orange line are the older ones as the newer cars with reduced seating were first placed on the red and green lines. It was kind of ugly that Metro started out on Monday night saying that the operator hadn't been driving trains very long and later mentioned that she had only just started driving solo in March. Now it turns out that she did try to brake but the emergency brake failed, as did the fail safe system and the train she was driving was also overdue for brake maintenance. Something needs to be done to ensure that equipment is replaced when the NTSB says it is dangerous to keep using it. Metro should not be allowed to put its employees and passengers lives at risk because new equipment costs too much or repairs are too costly. And Congress should look around at all the tourists that ride Metro when they come in to the Capitol from every state - it is a miracle that the list of casualties in this tragedy didn't include tourists or children coming home from Daycare at the end of Mom or Dad's work day. Now that we have seen what can happen, Metro needs to be inspected and managed with safety as a higher priority than cost.

Posted by: jaysmom60 | June 24, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

cj658 whether or not your math is right, if you are a family member of one of those killed or injured on Monday, Metro's safety record is kind of a moot point.

Posted by: jaysmom60 | June 24, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

This was a "freak accident". A train could have gotten stuck/crushed part way in the tunnel in the same scenario but endangering mostly those in the middle cars. Then what...You'll never sit in any middle cars again fearing you can't escape!

This was just very unfortunate.

Posted by: shanechar | June 24, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

This can't be news. Am I the only one who's heard the term "coffin cars"? It didn't take this accident to change my seating preference - it's just smart to not be on the end of a train. They should place special cars at the ends to avoid even the possibility of someone being killed by their choice of seat.

Posted by: imike1 | June 24, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Some of these comments are just too funny. sitting in the back or front car to avoid a terrorist attack, don't ride with a women operator, come on guys lighten up...lol

One thing that I have noticed is that when the train operator is female, the trains tend to go slower. I usually get on at Shady Grove, and the men operators seem to push the trains at a higher speed, which I like. I usually cringe when I hear a females voice on the intercom, not because females can't do the job, but I know it will take longer to get to where I'm going.

Also why wasn't the metro system built with any express service in mind. Didn't anyone realize that with only two tracks, if there was a break down or a need for maintenance that it would slow the entire line down. It takes forever to get from the end of any line to downtown, and even longer when they are single tracking. I rode the NY subway and their system, even though it's old, make ours look stupid.

Posted by: POLOinDC | June 24, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

shanechar- this unfortunate event didn't just happen - choices were made regarding costs of replacing equipment and regarding following maintenance schedules and those choices created the circumstances in which the unfortunate event could happen. Unsafe equipment was not removed from service or upgraded several years after NTSB warned that a crash could result in this type of loss of life; the brakes weren't serviced on schedule and appear to have failed when applied and finally the fail safe system did not kick in for whatever reason. Of the things I mentioned here, only the failure of the fail safe system seems to have been an unforeseen occurrence – un-serviced brakes, keeping equipment in service which has been deemed likely to collapse in a crash, those are issues that could have been dealt with before Monday's unfortunate event. Those are issues whose outcomes could be predicted and it has been reported that NTSB did tell Metro that a collision involving the 1000 series cars would be catastrophic. This didn't just happen it was allowed to happen through the choices that were made.

Posted by: jaysmom60 | June 24, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"1000 series cars should ABSOLUTELY be placed in the middle of sets of train cars. Or, just maybe, they shouldn't be used at all."

Not really. The weak point in such a configuration would then be the middle cars rather than the front cars. Energy is dissipated at the weak point by crumpling the steel. In cars, that is crumple zones, which are designed to crumple away from the passenger cabin. In a train with crumple resistant cars on the ends and crumple prone cars in the middle, you would simply have the most ghastly injuries located in the crumpled 1000 series cars in the middle as they are sandwiched between the car that has suddenly stopped in front and the car that wants to keep going behind it. No matter where you place it, they will crumple in a high speed collision. They are in essence, crumple zones that happen to be filled with people. Luckily, such accidents are extremely unlikely.

Posted by: Stripticus | June 24, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

i guess i really didn't pay it any mind when i got on the train in the morning and in the evening.

In the morning i board the last or next to the last car...in the evening i always board the first car. Did i change my normal routine yesterday...not at all.

Posted by: Kimster0717 | June 24, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

>choices were made regarding costs of >replacing equipment and regarding following >maintenance schedules and those choices >created the circumstances in which the >unfortunate event could happen

Metro has been chronically underfunded. When a system is underfunded, you replace equipment more slowly and you do less than NTSB optimal safety.

The blame here should sit squarely with a couple dozen idiots in the Virginia State Legislature who have steadfastly refused to step up to the plate to fund the system, preferring to let MD and DC carry the weight.

It was a stupid decision, and it endangered lives, as saw this week.

Posted by: IssuesNotDiatribe | June 24, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Typical overreacting pansies with no sense whatsoever. How many fatal crashes have there been on the Metro system? How long has it been operating?

Fact is, the overreacting ignoramuses will more likely die from rectal cranial inversion or obesity than from a Metro crash.

Every single day, H.L. Mencken is proven right. This is a perfect example of it.

Posted by: tonyw44 | June 24, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

the deadliest train disaster in the western world in recent years was the crash of a high speed train in germany near eschede in 1998, with over 100 killed. in that crash, people in the front car escaped without a scratch, while the people in MIDDLE cars were the ones who died. so folks, the front cars aren't deathtraps and the middle cars aren't the safe ones. it all depends on the particular accident.

Posted by: uujjj | June 24, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

woody2471, I split my sides laughing. Thanks for that.

Posted by: washpost-contact | June 24, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Interesting thread. I ride the Baltimore Metro regularly and it's the same scenario - middle cars crowded (and sometimes the front car, too) but the end car is usually fairly empty - probably because it's at the very end of the platform away from the escalators.

Why in the name of common sense can't the local governments around DC get it together to fund the area's transportation lifeline?

Posted by: heckertkrs | June 24, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

You know, I thought I was so smart hopping in the front car on the Orange line yesterday evening. A seat on the Orange Crush at rush hour, yes! But then, somewhere near Courthouse, the train jerked to a stop. *Everyone* looked pretty unsettled and/or nervous. We could smell burning breaks. We sat for a few minutes before we moved again. Worst of all...NO ANNOUNCEMENT. Come ON Metro!

Posted by: cbr1 | June 25, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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