Is this train jerky, or is it just me?
Katherine Shaver's story about people who get queasy aboard Metro trains leaves some readers saying: This is a train, not a library. But many people who read this blog have complained about all the stopping and starting as trains enter stations under manual control.
Part of the problem is that the trains were meant to operate automatically, with electronics controlling the stopping and starting. But since the June 22 crash on the Red Line, the trains have been under the control of their operators.
Metro told Shaver that another issue is the new combination of rail cars that places the oldest cars -- the least crash-resistant -- in the center of the trains throughout the system. Mixing them up like this can put the braking systems slightly out of sync, Metro said.
The complaints I receive about train operations have fallen off dramatically since the Red Line got back to normal between Fort Totten and Takoma after the suspect track circuitry was replaced. Does that mean riders are pretty much okay with the way the trains are moving, or have you just fallen into a state of acceptance?
The one thing I do still get some significant feedback about is another change that resulted from manual control: All trains stopping at the front of the platform. But it seems to me that many have gotten used to this. The front cars are no longer so empty and the rear cars no longer so crowded.
Meanwhile: There's no timetable for restoring the trains to automatic control, General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said Wednesday night. Metro still is waiting to hear the results of the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board into what caused the crash. But the NTSB did find that the train control technology between Takoma and Fort Totten was misbehaving at the time of the crash, and that itself was important information. Metro says that ever since it has been closely monitoring the track circuitry and keeping the trains in manual.
October 23, 2009; 1:10 PM ET
Categories: Metro , Safety | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line crash
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