Officials shut down the East Falls Church Station in Northern Virginia to conduct an investigation after a Metrorail train derailed on the tracks serving the Silver and Orange lines. One passenger was sent to the hospital out of the 60 passengers on board.
While officials from Metro, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are not yet sure what caused the train to derail, The Washington Post reports heat, recent rainfall, human error or a mechanical malfunction on the track could have been factors.
Given the closures due to track defects, the smoke incident little more than a year ago, the reports of Metro employees deliberately ignoring safety hazards and a near-miss collision two weeks ago, it is no wonder passengers and city officials are concerned about the future of Metro.
The FTA took temporary safety oversight in October after a passenger died in the smoke accident by replacing several Metro board members. Since then, it has conducted more than 200 inspections and found more than 1,100 defects in the lines showing Metro’s failure to follow safety protocols. Since then, many hoped Metro would clean up its act and the lines would be safer and more reliable.
However, the transit agency has continued to have problems operating safely. Last month alone, there were three incidents where different train operators ran right through red lights, endangering passengers aboard.
The Washington Post reports many organizations, particularly the House Oversight Committee, are requesting the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) take over for the FTA in overseeing Metro safety improvement projects.
Well, it’s been more than six months and, if anything, we are seeing more incidents showing Metro’s lack of safety compliance. Perhaps it is time to hand over safety management to another government organization.
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