Railfan.net Home Railfan Photos ABPR Archives Staff Safari Photos Railfan Links

Railfan.net Forums Railfan.net Forums Railfan.net Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please Sign In or Register. Aug 22nd, 2017, 10:34pm
Categories •  FastIndex •  LongIndex •  Help •  Search •  Members  •  Sign In •  Register


Washington Metro Red Line Crash
   Railfan.net Web Forums
   Transit and Commuter
   General Subway, Transit and Commuter
(Moderators: NYC_Subway_Fan, ge_genesis, )
   Washington Metro Red Line Crash
« Previous topic | Next topic »
Pages: 1  ReplyReply     EMail TopicEMail Topic   PrintPrint
   Author  Topic: Washington Metro Red Line Crash  (Read 295 times)
ClydeDET
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4793
Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« on: Jul 28th, 2010, 11:04am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

NTSB has an answer to wha' hoppened. Full report available in a few weeks:
 
NTSB CITES TRACK CIRCUIT FAILURE AND WMATA'S LACK OF A SAFETY CULTURE IN 2009 FATAL COLLISION
 
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
The National Transportation Safety Board today determined that last year's fatal collision of two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) trains on the Red Line in Washington, D.C., was a failure of the track circuit modules that caused the automatic train control (ATC) system to lose detection of one train, allowing a second train to strike it from the rear. The NTSB also cited WMATA for its failure to ensure that a verification test developed after a 2005 incident near Rosslyn station was used system wide. This test would have identified the faulty track circuit before the accident.
 
Contributing to the accident was the lack of a safety culture within WMATA; ineffective safety oversight by the WMATA Board of Directors and the Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC); and the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) lack of statutory authority to provide federal safety oversight. Additionally, WMATA's failure to replace or retrofit the 1000-series rail cars, after these cars were shown in previous accidents to exhibit poor crashworthiness, contributed to the severity of passenger injuries and the number of fatalities.
 
On June 22, 2009, at approximately 5 p.m., train 112 struck the rear of stopped train 214 near the Fort Totten station in Washington, D.C. The lead car of train 112 struck the rear car of train 214, causing the rear car of train 214 to telescope about 63 feet into the lead car of train 112. Nine people aboard train 112 were killed as a result of the accident, including the train operator, and dozens were injured.
 
"The layers of safety deficiencies uncovered during the course of this investigation are troubling and reveal a systemic breakdown of safety management at all levels," said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "Our hope is that the lessons learned from this accident will be not only a catalyst for change at WMATA, but also the cornerstone of a greater effort to establish a federal role in oversight and safety standards for rail transit systems across the nation."
 
As a result of this investigation, the NTSB made recommendations to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the FTA, TOC, WMATA, Alstom Signaling and transit authorities in six states using GRS Generation 2 modules. Issue areas included safety oversight, equipment inspection and maintenance guidelines and procedures, and targeted equipment removal and replacement.
 
A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, conclusions and safety recommendations, is available on the NTSB website.
 
The NTSB's full report will be available on the website in several weeks.
 
-30-


Logged
Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #1 on: Jul 30th, 2010, 3:31pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

What is really distressing here is the fact that a system that was supposed to make Metro safer than the old manually operated systems failed and permitted the kind of accident to occur that almost never occurred on those older systems. Sometimes we can get lulled to sleep with our "modern" technology and fail to do some basic things ( like adopt the newest methods for inspecting and testing system components). Metro is a great system, but safety needs to become a higher priority than it has been.

Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3819
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #2 on: Jul 30th, 2010, 6:29pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

In the late 60's through 70's when thys system was initially being designed and built, there was a mindset that the right technology would solve all problems.  Therre was also a strong "railroads are archaic dinosaures that have nothing to teach us" mindset among the decision making people, aprticularly where it related to such things as vehicles and train control.  
 
It led to such laughable things as, because the early vehicles were  manufactured by people used to manufacturing planes, the train would not move when fully loaded, because the bend in the floor was such that the end sets of doors on the cars misaligned slightly vertically and the door sensor was set so precisely that it thought the doors were open and thus the brakes would not release.


Logged
Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #3 on: Jul 30th, 2010, 7:16pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

on Jul 30th, 2010, 6:29pm, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)
In the late 60's through 70's when thys system was initially being designed and built, there was a mindset that the right technology would solve all problems.  Therre was also a strong "railroads are archaic dinosaures that have nothing to teach us" mindset among the decision making people, aprticularly where it related to such things as vehicles and train control.  
 
It led to such laughable things as, because the early vehicles were  manufactured by people used to manufacturing planes, the train would not move when fully loaded, because the bend in the floor was such that the end sets of doors on the cars misaligned slightly vertically and the door sensor was set so precisely that it thought the doors were open and thus the brakes would not release.  

 
 That is the major problem with the 1000 series cars that were the consist of the striking train. They were built by Rohr Industries which was an aircraft manufacturer and used aircraft construction concepts in the design of those cars. Though highly touted at the time, it was this type of construction that made those cars less crash worthy than cars built using tried and true railcar concepts. Metro's later built cars, though almost identical in apperance to the 1000's, were built by several railcar manufacturers using the older railcar design and construction concepts, and are considered to be much more crash worthy.   Sometimes newer is not better.


« Last Edit: Jul 30th, 2010, 7:17pm by Walt_C » Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3438
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #4 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 10:11am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Ah, this report! Figures! I think most of us had done the Draft Investigation, Report And Order composed on our magic boxes,  
quite shortly after the tragedy. I think all of us suspected that someone here running a very sloppy railroad! Absent a sudden  
cardiac event, there was no reason at all the train operator should have been running "All Engines Ahead Full", absent "Proceed"  
indications from the signals. Signals evidently displayed "Green Over Green"...
 
The "1000" (Legacy) Cars? Come on, guys. This is weak. This is something of a "George Carlin" moment. Yes, the Rohrs have  
known deficits. But, we are to blame the cars on collapsing, account an accident (tragedy) that should have never happened?  
This is just one more example of what one gets when the new bright minds tamper with in place safety systems, of which they  
have no understanding. Recall impacts of a removed signal at Germantown, MD? Then, perhaps to talk of AMTK at Chase, MD?
 
Good to have the NTSB work. Good to see they state the obvious and apparent failings. Bad that sheer ineptness and  
negligence caused it all...
 
........................Vern....................
 
 


« Last Edit: Jul 31st, 2010, 10:21am by HwyHaulier » Logged

Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
NYC_Subway_Fan
Moderator
Historian
Posts: 1443
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #5 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 2:22pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

on Jul 30th, 2010, 6:29pm, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)
In the late 60's through 70's when thys system was initially being designed and built, there was a mindset that the right technology would solve all problems.  Therre was also a strong "railroads are archaic dinosaures that have nothing to teach us" mindset among the decision making people, aprticularly where it related to such things as vehicles and train control.  
 
It led to such laughable things as, because the early vehicles were  manufactured by people used to manufacturing planes, the train would not move when fully loaded, because the bend in the floor was such that the end sets of doors on the cars misaligned slightly vertically and the door sensor was set so precisely that it thought the doors were open and thus the brakes would not release.  

 
George,
 
Alas to at least some extent that mindset still exists; one doesn't have to go back to the 60's & 70's for this one.
 
After the towers fell cutting of the #1 line to South Ferry, the MTA decided to relay the tracks in the original (now unused) station.  After the line was restored through the WTC site, the first train to arrive into the loop scrapes the top of the cars on the ceiling.  
 
The MTA was forced to cut the line back for a few weeks, dig out all the new concrete and lower the rails enough to clear the ceiling.
 
I vividly recall the words of an old timer who no longer worked for the MTA saying something like "They've got all this new fangled technology with lasers and whatnot and they can't get it right.  We used to use a high tech solution years ago too.  It was a long stick that was precisely measured and we set it on the rail head.  If the stick touched the ceiling, we knew that we had the rail set too high.  If not, we fixed it in place knowing full well that the trains wouldn't scrape the roof."
 
Instead the MTA spent millions ripping things out and relaying several hundred feet of track and causing major headaches for the riders of that line.  


Logged

Alan,

Take care and take trains!
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3438
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #6 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 2:37pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Alan -  
 
Sigh! A pandemic of stupidity and ignorance! Weren't you at the Wake and Funeral, resulting in burial of Common Sense?
 
Besides, I rather suspect one gets credits towards a graduate degree in whatever, with attendance of Seminars in Excuse Making...  
Place your hands on the computer! It solves everything!
 
.....................Vern....................


Logged

Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3819
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #7 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 10:33pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

"Those who will not learn from experience are doomed to repeat it"
 
The worst thing about WMATA is that they seem incapable of learning, and when they do learn something they apply the wrong fix.  
 
This is not the first operator they have killed because of excessive trust in the electronics.
 
Back to the clearance issue:
 
We walked a frame through the platforms of the high speed rail stations in Taiwan to be certain that the edge of the platform was where it ought to be.  It is far simpler than all the fancy stuff:  After the work is finished and before the first train, take a light frame, set it on a small four wheel trolley, set a (movable) feeler to match the platform elevation and minimum offset,  and walk slowly through the station, measuring the space between minimum and real offset to be sure that it is not too much.  Write in marker on the face of the platform how much the stone edging needed to be moved out if the gap is too big.  The minimum and the target clearance between car and platform edge was 65 mm (about 2 5/8 inches).  There were zero incidents involving clearnaces when the system opened.


Logged
ClydeDET
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4793
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #8 on: Aug 2nd, 2010, 12:07pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Have a book i picked up not too many years ago (it is a 2000 copyright) called DERAIL: WHY TRAINS CRASH by Nicholas Faith that has a good deal to say about automated systems and why they don't prevent all wrecks. Mostly seems to be mis-understanding and failure to use the systems properly - including inappropriate over-rides and failures to monitor by operators or off-train dispatchers/controllers.
 
I think the persistent NTSB call of "this wouldn't have happened if we had auto train stop everywhere like we said would be a good thing"  probably reveals too much confidence in automation.


Logged
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3438
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #9 on: Aug 2nd, 2010, 12:53pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Clyde -  
 
Great insights! I'll suppose the systems are only as good as the operators at
the consoles. A deeply held set of beliefs in "safety culture" is vital...
 
I have always marveled at the astonishing show, happens every day, on the
old BURLINGTON line, Chicago - Deep West Suburbs. To see it all in daily
action can be hair raising...
 
...........................Vern........................


Logged

Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3819
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #10 on: Aug 2nd, 2010, 2:28pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

The continued belief in the false god of additional mechanical and electrical or electronic or computerized safety devices as the cure for all problems flies in the face of multiple events to the contrary.  
 
Yet the NTSB continues to burn incense and bow before that idol in nearly every accident report where the lack of one of these devices can by any possibility be implicated.  
 
A couple examples that come to mind, but I know there are many more:
 
The 1952 or 3 or thereabouts of the collision between the Little Rebel and a freight somewhere between Jackson TN and New Albany MS:  The conclusion:  It could have been prevented if there had been an automatic block system in place.  This on a piece of track that carried an average of 4 point something trains per day.  Would have been economic disaster for the GM&O.
 
The Chase MD collision:  Conclusion that there should have been ATS or a derail so the freight engines could not get out on the mains.  This on a piece of track that had almost every other possible signal and safety device.  How about not allowing potheads in engine service?
 
Then there are such things as the collision of a WMATA train at Shady Grove Yard due to sliding on icey rail:  This one occurred because of opeation under the automatic train operation, despite the operator wanting to go manual.


« Last Edit: Aug 2nd, 2010, 2:29pm by George_Harris » Logged
ClydeDET
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4793
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #11 on: Aug 2nd, 2010, 6:26pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Well, not much doubt that various things CAN be elpful, but it still comes down to the people at the controls being alert and conscious of how to do it safely. And being able to over-ride the automatics if that becomes needful....

Logged
Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #12 on: Aug 27th, 2010, 8:42pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

on Aug 2nd, 2010, 6:26pm, ClydeDET wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Well, not much doubt that various things CAN be elpful, but it still comes down to the people at the controls being alert and conscious of how to do it safely. And being able to over-ride the automatics if that becomes needful....

 
  This was one of the major problems with the WMATA system-- the operator was unable to overide the ATC. This killed an operator a few years ago during an ice storm.


Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
ClydeDET
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4793
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #13 on: Aug 28th, 2010, 2:14pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Reminds of a cynical (but true) saying common in the Army durng my Vietnam time (and likely still): "Merde happens, and then you die", except we used the Anglo-Saxon equivalent...


Logged
George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3819
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #14 on: Aug 29th, 2010, 5:35pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Actually, it was not that the operator could not go manual, but he did not because it was likely that he would lose his job if he did.
 
The tracks were icey and the train had overrun its prescribed stopping position at the stations in advance of Shady Grove under automatic operation.  Despite this, the operator was not given permission to go to manual operation.  It was not that he was unable to do so, it was because he was prohibited from doing so without permission from the OCC and the OCC controller was prohibited from giving this permission except in case of emergency.
 
Thus,  
Quote:
The Red Line radio controller told Safety Board interviewers:
 
At this time I had a feeling the system was doing what it was supposed to do. It was slowing the train down to make the stop at Shady Grove. At this time, I didn’t feel I had an emergency where I could step in and overrule—put my job on the line—and tell the man to go manual.

 
 
A few quotes from the accident report:
Quote:
Prior to November 17, 1995, and apparently for most of the 20-year history of the Metrorail system, OCC controllers routinely gave
permission for train operators to change to manual operation during periods of inclement weather. This issue was important enough to be addressed by rule 3.85 in the MSRPH, which stated that revenue trains were to be operated in manual mode during periods of inclement weather or reduced visibility and as authorized by the OCC.
 
The November 17, 1995, notice instructing OCC controllers not to permit train operators to change to manual mode ended this 20-year policy. This notice, in combination with the November 20, 1995, memorandum annulling first-trip and once-weekly manual operation, completely eliminated routine mainline manual train operation on the Metrorail system.
. . . .
. . . the November 17 notice conveying these orders went only to OCC personnel, not to train operators. The November 20 memorandum addressing automatic versus manual operation did go totrain operators, but that memorandum merely restated the existing operating rule, which was that no train operator could change to manual mode without OCC permission. The November 20 memorandum was blatantly misleading because it implied that no alteration had been made in the policy regarding changing from automatic to manual mode when, in fact, because of the November 17 notice, requests for such a change would almost always (except for undefined “emergency situations”) be denied.  
 
Had the train operator wanted simply to slow his train without changing into manual mode, he would not have been able to do so; his only two options to reduce his speed were to initiate an ATO stop or an emergency stop— either of which would have been in direct violation of OCC instructions.

 
This whole thing was the result of arrogance at the top, and apparantly throughout the managment.  The operator had two choices, the certainty that he would be disciplined and possibly lose his job, or risk his life by complying with the rules.  If he had made the choice that would have saved his life, he would likely have been out of work and no one would have ever heard of this.
 
The accident occurred on January 6, 1996 at 10:40pm.  To see the whole thing, it is RAR-96/04, dated October 29, 1996.  found at www.ntsb.gov/publictn/1996/RAR9604.pdf


Logged
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3438
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #15 on: Aug 30th, 2010, 7:42am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

George -  
 
I have a feeling many of us have long suspected the entire railroad may very well have been supervised and managed by  
bizarre, Kafka like characters, or those embodied in Catch 22...
 
........................Vern......................


Logged

Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
Bluewater
Chaser
Posts: 91
Re: Washington Metro Red Line Crash
 
« Reply #16 on: Nov 6th, 2012, 4:50pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

oooooo I was supposed to be on that train, but thanks to a malfunctioning traffic light, I had to take the next one. Lucky me, but unlucky for those souls. That's twice I've escaped possible death or severe injury.  
 
Hope the survivors recovered ok!
 
--Bluewater


Logged

Yes, There really is a Kalamazoo, Michigan
You'd better believe it too!



Pages: 1  ReplyReply     EMail TopicEMail Topic   PrintPrint

« Previous topic | Next topic »