As federal investigators dig deeper into the reasons for this summer’s deadly Washington, DC, metro crash, they are finding that other Metro lines and commuter trains may be facing the same mechanical problems, failures, and dangers.
The recent discoveries surrounding the DC metro crash investigation has prompted federal officials to send out an urgent nationwide warning about these train issues to railroad conductors across the country.
The fatal flaw in the case of this public transportation tragedy is a kink in the system that could cause a track circuit to fail to detect an approaching train. Although it was not directly apparent how many other rail systems share this particular train detection system, the NTSB and the Federal Transit Administration both agreed that the warning should be sent out as a precaution. Later in the process, the FTA plans on exploring which other audio frequency track circuits there are in use and going from there.
The deadly Washington, DC, Metro accident that took place on June 22 killed nine commuters and injured another 52 people. Although the investigation into this public transportation accident remains under investigation, it seems that an errant signal sent from the auto frequency detection system was responsible for the train wreck. In the week before the accident, an unintended signal path was created, though in that instance no accident occurred.
The manufacturer of at least some of the equipment, Alstom Signaling Inc., was also informed of the signaling device’s role in the deadly train accident.