Metro News Release

For immediate release: August 10, 2009

Metro Track Worker Fatally Struck by Track Equipment

Employee part of work crew replacing cross ties during weekend work

A veteran Metro track repairman who was on a weekend work crew that was replacing cross-ties near Vienna was struck and killed by a piece of track equipment late Sunday night, August 9.

The employee was struck by a ballast regulator, which is a track unit that deposits and spreads ballast onto the track bed. Ballast is the material such as gravel and broken stone that sits between the cross-ties and tracks that helps keep the cross-ties and track stable. The employee, a male, was working along outbound track when he was struck by the regulator at about 9:50 p.m., halfway between the Dunn Loring-Merrifield and Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metrorail stations on the western end of the Orange Line in Fairfax County.

Approximately 10 to 15 employees were part of the crew that had been working at the time of the accident. The crosstie replacement project began at about 8 p.m. on Friday, August 7, and was scheduled to be complete prior to Metro’s Monday opening at 5 a.m. (August 10). Trains had been single-tracking or sharing one track between the Vienna and West Falls Church Metrorail stations throughout the weekend to allow the work to take place.

“We are terribly saddened to learn of this tragic accident,” said Metro General Manager John Catoe. “Our hearts go out to the family members of our employee. We have begun a thorough investigation to find out the facts and to determine what we can do to improve the safety of our employees.”

Metro halted all Orange Line service between West Falls Church-VT/UVA Metrorail station and the Vienna Metrorail station immediately after the accident and provided free shuttle buses between the Vienna, Dunn Loring and West Falls Church Metorail stations to get rail customers to their destinations. The rail system closes at midnight on Sunday nights.

The identity of the employee, who had worked at Metro for about 25 years, will be released after his next of kin have been notified.

Metro’s Safety Office notified the National Transportation Safety Board and the Tri-State Oversight Committee of the incident Sunday night.


Media contact for this news release: Lisa Farbstein or Angela Gates at 202-962-1051.
For all other inquiries, please call customer service at 202-637-7000.

News release issued at 12:46 am, August 10, 2009.