Inspectors Rip DC Metro’s ‘Appalling’ Safety Standards, Order Litany Of Urgent Fixes


Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Steve Birr Vice Reporter
Font Size:

Federal investigators tore into the D.C. Metro’s lax safety standards in a report prompted by the recent derailment, ordering officials to take a dozen urgent actions to fix various safety threats in the system.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released findings from the July 29 train derailment on the orange line in Virginia and also investigated 10 different sections of track on all six lines. FTA officials criticize Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) personnel in the report for a lack of proper track inspection oversight and a poorly trained workforce. Investigators are requiring Metro officials to increase managerial oversight and perform increased track maintenance throughout the system, reports WJLA.

The FTA also said Metro officials failed to heed warnings made in the spring pointing out deficiencies on the tracks between the Ballston and East Falls Church stations where the derailment occurred. FTA investigators told Metro officials to prioritize maintenance on the section of track in question, but were ignored. (RELATED: Allegations DC Metro ‘Ignored’ Safety Report Renews Calls For Train Automation)

“It is appalling to hear more bad news regarding the ongoing safety struggles at Metro,” Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Virginia Republican, said in a statement. “It is damning that the FTA had already identified track problems and highlighted their concerns to Metro about the area outside the East Falls Church station prior to the July 29th derailment.”

Metro officials have 30 days to complete the 12 required safety directives ordered by the FTA, including retraining track inspectors. Metro officials failed to follow their own rules for track inspections before the derailment. Metro Chair and Council member Jack Evans said he is tired of employees and supervisors ignoring internal safety codes and fragrantly violating policies.

Metro officials were only conducting track inspections in the area of the accident roughly once a month, despite policy mandating tracks be checked and inspected every two weeks.

“While WMATA has taken a number of critical steps to address safety deficiencies, it must improve its track safety protocols and training programs,” Carolyn Flowers, the acting administrator of the FTA, told WJLA. “In addition, greater coordination is needed between WMATA track and maintenance personnel to prioritize work and adhere to established standards, including conditions that warrant speed restrictions or single tracking.”

Follow Steve on Twitter

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact