Metrorail operator was eating meal when train overshot Silver Line station

A train operator is no longer employed by Metro after putting a train into automatic mode, resulting in the train overshooting a station platform last month in Herndon, Virginia.

The incident happened on March 17 along the Silver Line at Innovation Station in Fairfax County.

“The investigation has determined that the train operator had initially operated in ATO [automatic-control system] in passenger service, undetected by Metrorail numerous times, including multiple times on the day of the safety event,” said Washington Metrorail Safety Commission CEO David Mayer, at a Commission meeting held on Tuesday.

He said the front of the train stopped over 100 feet past the end of the platform, after the train operator initiated emergency braking.

Mayer said that’s not the only safety violation that was discovered. “Video related to this event demonstrates that the operator was eating a meal while operating the train, which is also contrary to Metrorail rules and procedures.”

Automatic mode has not been used since 2009, when nine people died in a Metro incident along the Red Line outside the Fort Totten Station.

However, Metro does have plans to return trains to automatic mode by the end of the year.

The March 17 incident is still under investigation, according to Mayer.

WTOP’s Grace Newton contributed to this report.

Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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