Thursday, May 31, 2012

Some Inside Metro Question Official Explanation about Opening Doors

Via @monicaarpino Nothing like the breeze of open metro doors - while moving. Red line b/n Van Ness & Tenleytown. @unsuckdcmetro

There is a group of knowledgeable Metro employees who are not buying Metro's public explanation about what caused the doors to open while a train was moving (and here).

Metro's explanation, as reported in the Washington Post was:
Metro said the transit agency’s investigation team had replicated the incident in a rail yard and found that there was a “misalignment of the contact head that transfers information between two cars.” That created an electrical short and caused the door to open, Metro officials said.
However, none of the sources I talk to or anyone they know has seen the massive failure be replicated.

I contacted the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which is supposed to oversee Metro safety, and they'd not seen it either. They issued the following statement:
"Since the date of the [Washington Post] article you note, TOC personnel and engineering consultants made three visits to two Metro rail maintenance facilities. TOC staff interviewed car maintenance staff, inspected the coupler assemblies from the incident train and reviewed WMATA's new tools and procedures for testing contact head alignment. The "replication" you noted took place one day prior to our first site visit. TOC and WMATA continue to work together to evaluate the failure modes of the train lines, and at this time the investigation is not yet complete."
There are those who don't believe Metro ever replicated the problem.

"Engineering's explanation does not make sense either logically or technically," said a source. "There are those who think it was a water-caused problem. The train has since dried out, and the engineering department is grasping at straws. They probably are being pressured to come up with a story to justify the failure. It also lets them appease the masses to calm any hysteria."

The source went on to say that if the doors opened because of a misaligned coupler which caused errant signals, "EVERY door would have opened from car 1264 on back, not just one car out of the four cars total. Electrical signals do not pick and choose where they go. They travel the entire consist (train)."
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