Metro News Release

For immediate release: November 29, 2009

Two six-car trains collide inside Metro rail yard

Several rail cars damaged beyond repair

At least three of Metro’s rail cars were damaged beyond repair during an early morning collision between two six-car trains in the West Falls Church Rail Yard today (Nov. 29). All 12 cars sustained some level of damage and Metro’s rail car maintenance officials are continuing to assess the condition of the remaining nine cars to determine if repairs are possible. New rail cars cost about $3 million each.

A six-car train struck the rear of another six-car train parked inside Metrorail’s West Falls Church Rail Yard at 4:27 a.m. Three employees sustained minor, non life-threatening injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital where they were treated and released. No customers were on board the trains. Service to customers was not affected when the rail system opened at 7 a.m.

Train number 902 was the final train of the night to pull into the rail yard when it struck the last car of a six-car train that was parked in the yard. Two employees were on board the parked train waiting for train 902 to pull in behind so they could climb onboard and begin to clean it. The parked train had no identification number assigned to it because it was not in service; trains are only assigned an identification number when they are about to go into service.

Train number 902 was comprised of rail cars numbers 5056, 5057, 1171, 1170, 3223 and 3222. The parked train was comprised of rail cars numbers 5138, 5139, 1107, 1106, 3216 and 3217. The lead car (5056) of train 902 made contact with the rear car (3217) of the parked train. Two of those cars--numbers 1106 and 1171--derailed as a result of the accident.

All of the rail cars sustained some level of damage, and Metro officials believe rail cars numbers 3216, 1106 and 1171 sustained damage beyond repair. No total estimate of damage has been determined.

The operator of train 902 has been a Metro employee since May 2007 and a train operator since November 2008. He is currently on paid administrative leave. He was finishing his shift when the accident took place. His scheduled shift, including breaks, ran from 5:55 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 28) to 4:15 a.m. Sunday (Nov. 29).

Metro’s Safety and Rail Department officials are conducting an investigation into the incident to determine why the accident took place. Metro’s Safety Office contacted the Federal Transit Administration, the Tri-State Oversight Committee and the National Transportation Safety Board to alert them to the accident.

Media contact for this news release at 202-962-1051.
For all other inquiries, please call customer service at 202-637-7000.

News release issued at 9:01 pm, November 29, 2009.