Union wants Metro to slow trains
Metro's largest union is calling for a safety slowdown of trains after a train operator used his emergency brake last week to avoid hitting another train.
The Amalgamated Transit Union is calling on Metro to run its trains no faster than 40 mph until the agency can determine what caused the incident.
Union President Jackie Jeter also is asking that the union be notified of all incidents within 24 hours so workers can be alerted of safety concerns. She issued the demands to Metro on Monday.
Jeter says she learned of the train operator using the emergency brake just outside Wheaton Station from media reports, despite a pledge from Metro to notify the union of incidents.
Regional transportation officials sent a letter to Metro last week demanding an explanation for the incident and the communications breakdown that delayed the incident from being reported to the panel that oversees Metro safety. Safety procedures require that the Tri-State Oversight Committee be notified within two hours of such incidents.
Even the interim general manager, Richard Sarles, had incorrect information on when and where the incident occurred more than 24 hours after it happened.
A slowdown to 40 mph from top speeds of 59 mph likely would cause delays. Jeter says passengers probably wouldn't mind if they knew it was for safety.
-- Washington Post wire and staff reports
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