Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Red Line Communications Breakdown

From Dave Tucker:
On April 18, I was on a Red Line train to Shady Grove. I was in the 1st car, #6147.

We had to stop in the tunnel before we got to Tenleytown because of a train ahead of us. When we tried to start moving again, the train wouldn't move forward. We kept going 5-10 feet backward. The driver would stop the train and try again. This happened about 10 times, and the entire time the driver was attempting to contact central control for help, but either his radio didn't work, or central didn't respond.

This was over the course of 10 minutes or so, which was very concerning, especially as we could hear the driver yelling to himself because of the lack of response.

Finally, a police officer, either Metro Transit or Montgomery County, walked into our car and offered assistance to the driver, who told him that either his radio wasn't working or central wasn't responding.

The driver attempted to move the train once more, but again it was unable to move forward. Finally, 15 minutes after stopping, the train slowly pulled into the station.

I'm not sure if the officer was able to establish communication with Central or whether the driver's radio began working again, but upon arrival at Tenleytown, our train was offloaded and most were able to board the next train, the lead car of which was #4037.

Obviously, mechanical problems happen, but it was extremely concerning that our train operator was out of communication with central for such a long period of time and that there was no back up communication plan in place. What would have happened had we not had the officer on our train? What if a medical emergency had occurred?

The entire experience left me with a sense that should something major go wrong with Metro, they will be extremely unprepared to deal with the problem and that bothers me much more than being delayed 20 minutes on a Monday evening.
Other items:
Riders save elderly couple who fell onto tracks (Examiner)
Va. governor calls for Dulles station reversal (WTOP)
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