Deteriorating Tracks From Neglected Maintenance Blamed For DC Metro Derailment


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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A major derailment incident on the Orange Line prompted investigations by D.C. Metro, who find that deteriorating rail ties from decades of neglected maitinence were likely to blame for the disaster Friday.

An orange line train derailed entering a track switch outside the East Falls Church station Friday morning, causing one minor injury but dealing a massive blow to commuters trying to get to the District from Virginia. Authorities closed the East Falls Chruch station and unloaded 75 passengers to the platform. Officials cut off service on the orange line between the West Falls Church and Ballston stations and the silver line between the McLean and Ballston stations through Sunday for repairs.

D.C. Metro released preliminary findings Monday afternoon covering the probable causes behind the derailment, which took place outside the East Falls Chruch station. The defunct rail ties resulted in the stretch of track expanding and the rails becoming too wide for the train. Other factors that could have contributed to the accident including broken rail car equipment and the record hot temperatures, reports WJLA.

Officials do not believe the train operator inadvertently caused the derailment in any way and pledged to conduct track inspections, looking for any urgent safety threats in the system.

“While Metro and the outside experts continue their review, we are requiring supervisors to conduct a specialized track inspection to look for any other similar conditions that must be immediately addressed,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement.

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