Metro GM Responds to Issues During Emergency Exercise in Preparation for Opening of Silver Line Extension

by MCS Staff

More than a hundred fire and emergency personnel converged on the new Ashburn Station on the Silver Line Extension as part of a full-scale emergency drill Wednesday, August 17.  NBC’s Adam Tuss tweeted that “Metro’s safety training drill is turning up some issues with the rail along the second phase of the Silver Line. The rails have been sitting for so long, that many are rusted – meaning some safety” equipment is having a hard time “connecting” to the rails.”

WMATA GM Randy Clarke provided a response to the issues via Twitter on Wednesday night, “While today’s @wmata emergency drill didn’t go perfectly it’s important to clarify that rail rust occurs when trains are not running & is not a safety or construction issue. Pre start-up simulation testing will clean this up similar to what other 🚇 lines look like.

More drills to come as #wmata prepares to open six new Silver Line stations including @Dulles_Airport for our customers and the region. Thx again to all our first responder partners & sorry for the delayed start. Appreciate everyone working hard for us to safely open service.“

Silver Line Phase II is projected to open in Fall 2022.

Full press release prior to Wednesday’s drill: More than a hundred fire and emergency personnel will converge on the new Ashburn Station on the Silver Line Extension as part of a full-scale emergency drill Wednesday, August 17. Metro is conducting the exercise in coordination with Fairfax County, Loudoun County and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) as part of preparations for the opening of the Silver Line Extension expected later this fall.

The training exercise will begin at 8 a.m. and run through noon to help familiarize first responders with Metro’s trains and rail system. During the exercise Metro will simulate a real-life emergency with a train stranded outside the Ashburn Station. People in the area may see a large emergency response at the station, including several fire trucks and ambulances; however, this is just an exercise.

As part of the exercise, first responders will focus on their emergency response, communication, command structure, station familiarization, track and railcar access and evacuation procedures. Metro’s bus, rail, police and safety staff will also take part in the exercise.

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