According to the Washington Post this morning, "experts familiar with Metro's operations focused last night on a failure of the signal system and operator error as likely causes of yesterday's fatal Red Line crash."
At this morning's press conference, an NTSB spokeswoman said it recommended Metro retro fit or phase out 1000-series cars. They did not.
NTSB also recommended adding sensors to 1000-series cars. WMATA did not.
UPDATE: WaPo now reporting the"train car that slammed into another on the Red Line yesterday evening was two months past due for scheduled maintenance on its brakes."
After several months all up in Metro's grill, we felt pretty confident that yesterday's tragic carnage is on WMATA. If we end up being wrong, we'll close this blog down.
We've been documenting, and often laughing at, Metro's problems for several months now. What started as a breezy lark, has turned into something much more than we ever thought it would be.
“How could we possibly fill a blog up with stuff about Metro?” we asked ourselves back in January.
Until yesterday, it has been embarrassingly (for Metro) easy—and fun (for us).
Some said we were nitpicking Metro, but we always believed the warts we could see as riders were symptoms of a deeper sickness.
And with yesterday's “mechanical failure” (that is what Metro was calling it for a while), it all stopped being fun and funny.
Metro's problems aren't humorous any more, they're deadly.
Sure, we chuckled about how drivers could not remember how many cars were on their train; one reader wrote about how he had to escape from a crippled car; we have written about what seems like poor driving by Metro operators and how a crippled train had to be pushed by another train after it got stuck under the Potomac. (During this incident communication breakdowns seemed only to make the situation more precarious. A precursor, perhaps?)
Time and time again, we've conveyed riders' irritation, anger and exasperation about consistent delays and breakdowns. Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
And it only seemed to get worse.
We've documented how Metro employees don't seem to take their jobs seriously, and when they do, they're mean and meaner about it.
We wrote about how Metro workers don't follow Metro's own rules, eating in the system and parking for the entire day at the Kiss and Ride. Who knows what else?
We started this whole thing just a few months ago, and ALL that has happened.
It's an incredible litany of dysfunction.
We got so fed up with Metro that months ago we asked readers if GM John Catoe should step down.
Instead, he was awarded best mass transit manager in the U.S., basically hanging his hat on Metro's safety record.
Suddenly, Metro doesn't feel so safe. All those past herky jerky rides make us wonder what was happening in those dark tunnels that we couldn't see.
Today, very sadly, many area families will never see a loved one again. Many are injured. The commute for tens of thousands will be snarled for days in the nation's capital.
Metro and the jurisdictions that fund Metro should be ashamed of themselves. Not only have they seen fit to provide us a third rate mass transit system, they now have a system that kills its passengers.
Crashworthiness of Metro cars (City Paper)
Previous crashes (NBC Washington)