Washington Metrorail Safety Commission

Transit Briefs: WMATA, Caltrain, Amtrak

Auto doors are now operating on all of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) rail lines. Also, Caltrain is offering customized service alerts; and Amtrak increases Northeast Regional service at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), improves Ethan Allen Express with faster trips, and announces that Borealis ridership has topped 18,500 in its first full month of service.

(Image Courtesy of WMSC)

WMSC Audits WMATA’s Railcar Program

An audit of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) maintenance and engineering practices related to its rapid transit cars and associated shop equipment was released by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC)

WMSC Issues Safety Audit of WMATA’s Automatic Train Control, Signals Program

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail has implemented improvements to its automatic train control and signals program, but “is not carrying out some key safety commitments,” according to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission’s (WMSC) most recent safety audit, released Jan. 18. In addition to providing five findings and three recommendations for WMATA to address, WMSC outlined positive practices at the rapid transit system serving 98 stations in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

The NTSB observed the inspection and disassembly of wheelset #4 from railcar 7200, which caused the 2021 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority derailment in Virginia. “In accordance with wheelset design, each wheel should have been flush against its bearing when mounted,” NTSB wrote in its January 2023 derailment investigation report. “Before disassembly, the inspection identified gaps between both wheels and their respective bearings: about 0.63 inches for the right-side wheel and about 1.10 inches for the left-side wheel [see above] … The back-to-back measurement was about 55.375 inches, or about 2 inches wider than the maximum design specification.” (NTSB Image)

NTSB Releases WMATA 2021 Derailment Report

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Jan. 4 issued its final report on the October 2021 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) train derailment in Arlington, Va., attributing the cause to a wheelset irregularity. Chair Jennifer Homendy was critical of both the transit agency’s “safety culture” and the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) oversight.

WMATA photo

WMATA Reinstates Auto Doors on Red Line

Following weeks of certifying operators to use Automatic Door Operation on some Red Line trains, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) has given concurrence to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to allow the agency to fully operate in Auto Door mode on the Red Line, beginning Dec. 5.

WMATA photo

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, AECOM, WMATA

Amtrak introduces a simplified fare structure. Also, AECOM is appointed by Metrolinx to serve as technical advisor for the Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT) project; and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) prepares for its Auto Doors function.

Transit Briefs: Amtrak/LOSSAN, NYMTA/PANYNJ, WMATA, Brightline

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service reduces fleet’s environmental impact with sustainable fuel alternative. Also, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announces that AirTrain JFK will accept payments via OMNY, beginning Oct. 11; the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) celebrates one million customers at the Washington Dulles International Airport Silver Line Metrorail Station and announces that normal rail service has returned as the agency continues to inspect the fleet’s oldest railcars; and Brightline will double its train service between Orlando and Miami.

CTA has released a Request for Proposals to the three pre-selected contracting teams that demonstrated the ability to design and build the $3.6 billion Red Line Extension in a Request for Qualifications process that began last year. (CTA Rendering)

Transit Briefs: CTA, Minn. Met Council, San Diego MTS, SBCTA, WMATA

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) issues a Request for Proposals (RFP) to build Red Line Extension track structure and stations, and hits the ridership “million mark” on multiple days, a post-pandemic first. Also, Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council announces a grant agreement that will fund work on the Metro Transit Blue Line extension project through 2024; San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS) Board signs off on measures to improve operations, accessibility and security; San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) takes delivery of the ZEMU (Zero-Emissions Multiple Unit) from Stadler; and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) delays until next year the full switch to automatic train operations (ATO).

The New Jersey Herald on Aug. 8 reported that New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Amtrak officials visited the future Andover, N.J., station site, to which New Jersey Transit will run commuter rail service and from which Amtrak will operate intercity passenger rail service to Scranton, Pa.

Transit Briefs: Amtrak/NJT, NYMTA, TriMet, WMATA

Amtrak and New Jersey Transit’s (NJT) passenger rail service project between Andover, N.J., and Scranton, Pa., is advancing. Also, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launches an all-in-one mobile app for trip planning and service information; Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) leases a new office space; and the latest Washington Metrorail Safety Commission report highlights Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) missteps.