Metro Red Line Service Update After Sparks and Smoke Were Reported

by MCS Staff

Per WMATA: An investigation by Metro’s safety department is ongoing, but Chief Safety Officer Theresa Impastato and Acting Chief Operations Officer Mike Hass have determined that there is no evidence a train was directed to perform a track inspection in an area where there was a report of smoke or fire.

A detailed review of multiple data recording sources along with employee statements, which are being shared with WMSC, revealed that within just two minutes of a fire alarm activating at a drainage pumping station near Dupont Circle, the Rail Operations Control Center attempted to contact train 108 to instruct the operator to hold at Woodley Park Station, however, contact with the train was not successful before the train departed. Shortly thereafter, the operator of train 108 communicated to the control center that he lost speed commands and the controller responded with a request for an inspection. Within moments, the operator reported that he saw sparks on the tunnel wall ahead and observed smoke. This report, along with a report from the station manager at DuPont Circle Station, were the first reports of smoke conditions. The operator immediately stopped his train before entering the incident area and was directed to reverse ends and take customers back to Woodley Park Station.

At this point in the investigation, evidence suggests that there was a failure of a low-voltage electrical cable that led to an electrical fire which damaged adjacent cables. The General Manager has directed rail management to undertake a systemwide inspection of low-voltage power cables (e.g., radio and signal systems), starting with the underground portion of the system. Additionally, as stated yesterday
evening, he has instructed the Chief Safety Officer and ROCC to provide a full After Action Report (AAR). This review will include emergency preparedness, response actions from staff, internal and customer communications and bus shuttle operations.

Service continues to be suspended between Van Ness and Farragut North to allow crews to make multiple repairs. Shuttle bus service is operating every 10 minutes for customers and will remain in place until all work is concluded. We apologize to customers for this inconvenience as we work to resolve all issues and will provide a service update later tonight.

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