Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Emergency Intercom Failures Explained?

Photo: nevermindtheend

A PR stunt aimed to make riders feel safer may have inadvertently made riding Metro more dangerous, according to two Metro sources.

We already know that bellying the 1000-series cars in the wake of the Red Line crash was for show. Putting them in the middle of trains does nothing to increase safety as anyone with simple understanding of physics would know. Those cars are apt to accordion on impact no matter where they are in the train.

But there was an unanticipated problem with mixing 1000-series cars in with the others.

Apparently, the emergency intercoms of the 1000s don't work well in mixed trains said two Metro sources. Specifically, from the 1000 car back, in many cases, there is often no ability to communicate with the operator via the emergency intercom because of an incompatibility glitch.

For example, in a 6000-6000-1000-1000-3000-3000-5000-5000 train, riders in the last four cars might not be able to communicate with the operator because of the glitch.

Both sources said the issue is sporadic, noting the intercoms don't fail every time, but they also added that the problem is widespread. They both confirmed Metro management has known about the problem for over a year, but nothing has been done to fix the issue.

Maybe this explains why there have been so many complaints from riders about not being able to contact the train operator in emergencies.


Other items:
Yet more on the new Metro map (WaPo)
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