Federal Transportation Agency Faults Metro for Mismanaging SafeTrack Plan, Making Certain Tracks Less Safe Than Before

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.

Virginia Train Accident Lawyer

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 recommendations.

If you or anyone you know has been injured on Metro's railway system, you should contact our injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. for a free consultation.