Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do We Really Want to know How Sausage is Made?

Over the past couple of weeks, WMATA has released the two videos below to give us a "behind the scenes" look at Metro's operation. We assume it's an attempt to mollify the public in the wake of the Red Line crash.
The first clip is of the train control system WMATA uses, which, as DCist said, "is apparently running off an old Atari 2600."
We asked Metro why there aren't any other trains visible on the video, and they said it was because it was shot around 11 a.m. Also cut off from the video is the track heading the opposite way.
The next video WMATA released was inside a Metro control room. As WMATA says in the video, the electronics are originally from the '70s, and boy do they look it.
Vintage is cool for clothes, music and maybe a couple of other things, but not a subway system that carries over 800,000 people on workdays. Where are the vacuum tubes, teletypes and 8-track machines?
WMATA, we know you're trying to educate the public, but frankly, these videos don't instill a lot of confidence.
How about a video about what you're doing to make things better?

Other items:
O'Malley to Back Light Rail for Purple Line (WaPo)
20 Bus stops vandalized (DCist)
More door problems (WaPo)

add to del.icio.us Add to Blinkslist add to furl Digg it add to ma.gnolia Stumble It! add to simpy seed the vine TailRank post to facebook


Anonymous said...

The only thing that would've made the metro train control room video scarier would be if they had vacuum tubes. I'm shocked that they haven't updated any of this equipment since the inception of metro. The size of one of those modules for only one section of track is huge. Additionally, I didn't see any semblance of redundancy. So, what happens when these 40 year old components fail? They could cut the size of all that equipment down so much and make it much more reliable by refreshing it using modern technology. Screw replacing the 1000 series cars. This is the real stuff that needs to be replaced.

Rob said...

I don't think I ever want to ride Metro again after watching those videos. The poster above is right, that equipment has never been updated, no redunancy visible. I'm not sure I want to put my life in the hands of a computer system that's as old as the space program! GULP

Anonymous said...

Careful what you wish for. They may look like Ataris 1600, but they have kept the system running safe for decades.
It is while upgrading to the "new and improved" equipment that resulted in an accident.
Old system was installed by contractors... new one by Metro.

Anonymous said...

Note that choices 1 and 2 in the poll are not mutually exclusive....

Anonymous said...

These videos make me feel so much safer... What is Metro thinking?

tmurren said...

I can lend them an old 486 IMB Compatible if they want to upgrade! We could use the old system to play frogger.

I can't believe they haven't installed GPS locators on the trains so they can track where every single car is in real time. This whole blinky light thing doesn't seem efficient.

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Site Meter