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Metro Board Discusses Safety Issues

The Metro board and its safety committee are meeting this morning. Watch for updates on board actions and discussions through the morning.

At the Customer Service, Operations and Safety Committee meeting: The board members and Metro staff are discussing the June 22 crash and its consequences. Board member Chris Zimmerman is asking about the universe of automatic train controls.

Zimmerman: To develop the kind of train control backup system recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board this week, he's asking about what transit agencies around the orld have automatic controls. Who else can we talk to? And where else is there a market for such devices?

Dave Kubicek, Metrorail manager: He says he's talking to various manufacturers to get a better idea of what's available in train controls. At this stage, he says, it looks like there will be unique aspects to a Metrorail solution. (We can't just buy something somebody else already is using.)

Board Member Jeff McKay: He says he's a little surprised about the short notice given on the Takoma Station closing scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Can lead time be increased on this?

Kubicek: Some very key experts have been brought in from around the world to look at track and signal issues, he says. So Metro needed to help out by getting them access to the tracks today and Saturday (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) He says he's trying to make sure that work is clustered to minimize inconvenience.

Zimmerman notes that it's hard to talk about any safety issue besides the crash, but notes that the statistics Metro staff are displaying this morning show that the long term trend is toward safer operations on rail and bus. (The stats on display go only through May. This is a standard monthly safety update by staff. Everyone hear knows that the rail safety stats will change once the June figures are included.)

General Manager John B. Catoe Jr., responding to a question from Zimmerman about the longterm results, says he continues to work on instilling a culture of safety among employees.

Example of other safety issues, besides the crash: Catoe says the number of fires on the tracks has declined, because Metro has been working harder to remove trash from the rails.

Board member Peter Benjamin, a Red Line rider from Maryland: Trains are crowded, but not as bad as they were a week or so ago. Service is coming back to normal. There are longer dwell times at stations. You've done an enormous job between last week and this eek, he tells staff.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 16, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash  
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Next: Metrorail Stations Scheduled For Makeovers


I am glad to see that the General Manager is talking about instilling a culture of safety. A true culture is supported by the person working on the frontline. They are the ones that are going to establish and promote the culture.
Jay D. Rohman

Posted by: encouragingsafety | July 16, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

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