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Six DC Metro Workers Fired After Falsifying Track Inspections Before Derailment

(WJLA/Screenshot)

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

Officials fired six employees with the D.C. Metro Thursday after an investigation into a July derailment revealed falsified track inspections.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced Thursday morning that four inspectors and two supervisors were fired in connection with the July derailment of a Silver Line train outside the East Falls Church station. Another six track inspectors face unpaid suspension or complete termination due to findings from the investigation. Ten additional track inspectors face suspension over the incident, reports WJLA.

Wiedefeld said employees falsified key inspection reports of the area of the track where derailment occurred.

“This review revealed a disturbing level of indifference, lack of accountability, and flagrant misconduct in a portion of Metro’s track department which is completely intolerable,” Wiedefeld said. “Further, it is reprehensible that any supervisor or mid-level manager would tolerate or encourage this behavior, or seek to retaliate against those who objected.”

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Dec. 1 found officials knew about the track issues that lead to a July train derailment a year before it happened. Furthermore, the report indicated that in the lead up to the derailment, officials may have ignored track conditions.

Wiedefeld responded by telling a congressional committee Dec. 2 that he hired two independent prosecutors to investigate the actions of track inspectors. Investigators for NTSB said that track inspectors appeared to be fabricating track reports by simply copying information from outdated reports.

The internal review is more bad news for a transit agency already struggling to restore its public image. Federal officials revealed in November that repairs of the D.C. Metro system related to SafeTrack will cost nearly double what the agency originally budgeted and will extend into the summer.

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