Metro corrects and comments on Washington Post story titled "Sandwiching Older Metro Cars was PR Move"
Article questions rationale for move of oldest railcars
The Washington Post’s story, “Sandwiching Older Metro Cars was PR Move,” (September 27, 2009) omitted much information that Metro officials shared with the two reporters who wrote the story.
Metro has issued a line-by-line list of corrections, clarifications and commentary on the article.
After the June 22, 2009 train collision, Metro officials announced that they would reconfigure its six- and eight-car trains in a way that would shift all of its oldest railcars, known as the 1000 Series cars, into the center of its trains so that a 1000 Series car would not be the first or last car of a train.
There has been analysis done by experts in the field who were looking at the benefits of shifting the location of trains within a train set, although they were not specifically studying Metrorail cars in the analysis that they conducted. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) has compiled a great deal of research relevant to crashworthiness. It is posted online at http://www.volpe.dot.gov/sdd/pubs-crash.html. Officials on Metro's staff believe that under current operating conditions, if the oldest cars are in the center of six- and eight-car trains that the newer cars may act as a buffer and absorb the majority of impact in the event of a collision.
A consequence of mixing 1000 Series cars with newer models such as the 6000 Series cars mean that the interior next station stop signs, which are featured in the 6000 Series vehicles, do not function. Officials have also discovered that sometimes the intercoms used by customers to communicate with the train operators also do not always function, and officials are seeking to identify a fix to that situation.
“Under current operating conditions, the 1000 Series rail cars are safe, and they are needed to move close to 800,000 people each weekday” Catoe said. "These cars have anti-climbers and collapsible couplers, as does the rest of our fleet. Replacing the 1000 Series cars would be done when replacement cars are available and not as an immediate measure. So there are no current plans to remove them from service. That is not practical or necessary, given that there is no evidence that the 1000 Series cars contributed to the accident. Scientific studies and common sense both tell us that removing these cars from the lead and trail positions on trains will lessen damage to these, our oldest cars."
Media contact for this news release: Lisa Farbstein at 202-962-1051.
For all other inquiries, please call customer service at 202-637-7000.
News release issued at 11:42 am, September 27, 2009.