By: Allan M. Siegel
In late 2015, safety and maintenance on Metro railways were in such shambles
that drastic action was necessary. The Federal Transit Authority, an agency
within the Federal Government's Department of Transportation, intervened
and took control over parts of Metro, which previously was only a local
governmental entity. Specifically, the FTA assumed control over safety
measures taken on the railways, to prevent the sorts of accidents we've
seen many times recently – such as trains colliding into one another,
trains derailing, and tunnel fires and smoke. One of the plans that the
FTA devised was the SafeTrack plan, which the FTA directed Metro to implement.
SafeTrack is a plan to periodically shut down portions of certain railway
lines, for days at a time, in order to perform necessary maintenance and
repair on the shuttered tracks.
However, the FTA recently issued a report faulting Metro for botching the
implementation of the FTA's SafeTrack plan. In particular, the FTA
faulted Metro for failing to prevent the July 29, 2016 derailment of two
cars just outside the East Falls Church Metro Station. According to the
FTA, it was improper to keep operational the line of track where the derailment
occurred, because Metro officials had reason to know that there was a
defect in one of the track parts, used to transfer cars while the SafeTrack
program is ongoing on the Orange and Silver lines. While it is generally
laudable to use all parts of the rail system to ensure widespread service
for the people, as the FTA found, Metro has gone too far and is favoring
service over safety.
In the wake of the FTA's report, Metro now has 30 days to respond to
the report, and 60 days to devise a plan to implement the report's
If you or anyone you know has been injured on Metro's railway system,
contact our injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.
for a free consultation.