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FTA Releases WMATA Track Integrity Investigation Report – Safety Directive to Correct Systemic Track Safety Problems

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today issued a Safety Directive to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) requiring the transit agency to complete 12 actions to correct track integrity deficiencies in the Metrorail system.  The Safety Directive is based on 12 significant findings set out in a Track Integrity Investigation Report also released today. The report includes findings from FTA’s spring 2016 “Safety Blitz” assessment of Metrorail and details systemic deficiencies in the inspection, maintenance and repair of track that have contributed to or could have resulted in train derailments and other track-related incidents.  “FTA’s comprehensive investigation into WMATA’s track inspection and maintenance program has revealed significant safety concerns,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “FTA has directed Metrorail to take specific action to correct these deficiencies, and continues to provide vigorous oversight of Metrorail’s safety efforts in other areas of operations.”  “While WMATA has taken a number of critical steps to address safety deficiencies, it must improve its track safety protocols and training programs,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “In addition, greater coordination is needed between WMATA track and maintenance personnel to prioritize work and adhere to established standards, including conditions that warrant speed restrictions or single tracking.” The FTA track integrity investigation that began earlier this year is the result of its review of WMATA’s investigation into a major derailment that occurred on August 6, 2015, near Smithsonian Station and information obtained from other incidents in the system. The investigation took place between March and June 2016, focusing on 10 specific track segments [external link], including portions of all six Metrorail lines. The report also includes preliminary findings from FTA’s investigation of the July 29, 2016, Metrorail passenger train derailment near the East Falls Church Station…”

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