WMSC

(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.

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).

Audit Released on WMATA’s Internal Safety Review Program

The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) on Jan. 4 issued a safety audit of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Internal Safety Review Program, which it said identified “positive practices” and three findings the transit authority must address.

VIA Rail is adding “buffer cars at the front and back end of all trains with [older] stainless steel equipment to reduce the consequences in the unlikely event of a train-to-train collision,” Canada’s government-owned passenger railroad told The Globe and Mail. This safety measure will remain until older cars can be reinforced and new Siemens trainsets (pictured) enter service. (Photograph Courtesy of VIA Rail Canada)

Transit Briefs: TTC, VIA Rail, WMATA, BART/MTC

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) selects AECOM as owner’s engineer for the Bloor-Yonge Station Capacity Improvements project. Also, VIA Rail Canada is adding “buffer” cars to some trains to improve safety; Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA/Metro) reports that next month the Silver Line extension will be operationally ready to open, but it’s unclear if more 7000-series railcars will be approved for release to support it; and San Francisco Bay Rapid Transit District (BART) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) report a plastic Clipper® fare-card shortage.

WMATA Communications Systems Audit Report Released

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Metrorail rapid transit system has safety gaps related to communications system training, supervisory oversight, safety promotion, maintenance, documentation, hazard identification, and procedural compliance, according to a 2022 Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) audit report released Sept. 29. As a result, WMSC has issued nine findings requiring WMATA to develop corrective action plans, plus two recommendations that the transit agency must address.