DC Metro GM Doesn’t Know If ‘Crime Was Committed’ Before Train Derailment


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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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D.C. Metro officials called an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss multiple safety lapses including the recent derailment of a silver line train, which is under investigation to address a possibly falsified inspection report.

Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans called the unscheduled meeting after a number of safety failures for the transit agency produced three critical reports from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) this month. Officials focused on the July 29 derailment of a silver line train outside the East Falls Church station in Virginia. An investigation revealed that workers failed to follow Metro rules for track inspections, leading to the disaster, reports The Hill.

Evans and other officials asked whether Metro workers were doing track inspections at all. Investigators are still trying to determine if a Metro employee falsified the last track inspection conducted before the derailment.

“I don’t know what, if any, crime was committed,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said at the meeting. “But we’re going to get to the root of these issues.”

Evans said he is tired of employees and supervisors ignoring internal safety codes and fragrantly violating policies. The initial investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed Metro officials were only conducting track inspections in the area of the accident roughly once a month, despite rules mandating inspections every two weeks. (RELATED: DC Metro Chair Furious After Derailment, Calls For Heads To Roll)

The latest report from the FTA released Wednesday criticizes the ongoing issue of officials and supervisors encouraging workers to flout safety procedures. The report focuses on train car storage, prompted by several incidents between 2014 and 2015 where train cars unintentionally rolled.

“Preventing unintended movement of rail vehicles is fundamental to safety and WMATA needs to do more to eliminate these types of incidents from happening,” Anthony Foxx, U.S. transportation secretary, said in a statement. “Verifying that a train has been properly secured is a common sense solution to prevent accidents.”

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