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Metro to install train upgrades

Subway cars are shown in the aftermath of a crash at the Woodley Park-Zoo-Adams Morgan Station in Northwest Washington on Nov. 3, 2004. (Michel du Cille/The Washington Post)

Metro officials announced that they will upgrade electronics on 182 rail cars to prevent them from rolling backward while operating in manual mode.

The transit agency's board of directors approved the installation of the software during its Thursday board meeting. The upgrade will cost $813,000 and will be implemented on Metro's 5000 series rail cars by the end of summer, the agency said.

The step is related to the 2004 Woodley Park Station crash when a Metro train unexpectedly rolled backward, gained speed and rammed another train in Woodley Park. The crash injured about 20 people and caused $3.5 million in damage.

After that accident, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all rail passenger cars have rollback protection.

Metro said its 2000, 3000 and 6000 rail cars, 546 total, all have the software. The agency is installing the protection on its 288 1000 series cars. Officials said the software will also be installed on the agency's 100 4000 series cars.

Metro also announced that it will spend $2.6 million to repair door control units on 546 cars.

In April 2008, Metro train operators were instructed to manually open rail car doors after a malfunction caused doors to open on the wrong side four times in the past 100 day.

Metro's trains are currently operating in manual mode as a result of the June 22 Red Line crash, which killed eight passengers and a train operator. Acting Deputy General Manager Dave Kubicek said during this week's NTSB hearing into the crash that it would be a year before trains resumed automatic operations as the agency tests and implements a backup for its automatic crash-avoidance system.

-- Staff Reports

By Michael Bolden  |  February 26, 2010; 8:29 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  | Tags: metro safety  
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Upgraded electronics relating to a crash that occurred over five years ago. Nothing like prompt action!

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 26, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

My thoughts also...

Posted by: ceebee2 | February 26, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@1995hoo...but you don't know when NTSB finished their study and made the recommendation to update the electronics. Gosh, you exclaim it took FIVE YEARS!! Heck, it may have only taken four years, plus 11 months, plus 6 days, plue 23 hours! :-)

Posted by: dezlboy1 | February 26, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

There are plenty of things Metro can and should be doing without a need to wait for NTSB.

Posted by: ceebee2 | February 26, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

So they'll be fixing the latest failures sometimes around 2015, we can Hope.

Posted by: member5 | February 26, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

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