Metro to enhance operator training, citing investigation into error

Metro said Friday it will begin enhancing training measures for its operators following several mishaps on its fleet’s 7000-series trains.

During an ongoing internal investigation into a red signal overrun last month, Metro found that recent training classes didn’t follow the proper procedure of non-passenger and in-service training for train operators, according to a release.

The transit officials’ investigation found that all active rail operators have completed requirements for safe operations of passenger service; however, 64 operators from recent training classes did not follow the proper training sequence.

Operators will practice on eight “state-of-the-art” 7000-series train simulators and will be required to undergo extensive training that includes undergoing several weeks of classroom training with an instructor and passing a written practical exam.

“Training enhancements that increase employee knowledge and confidence are an important part of strengthening safety culture,” said safety and readiness department chief Theresa M. Impastato in a statement. “By conducting a full and transparent investigation, we are taking actions to better prepare our employees to improve the overall safety of our services.”

Metro said it hopes this change showed its “commitment to safety and transparency through the continued implementation of the agency’s Safety Management System.”

In a tweet, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission said it appreciated “Metrorail taking first steps to start addressing these safety issues,” after communicating multiple safety concerns with the 7000-series trains to the transit system.

Originally, the 7000-series trains were advertised as “the newest and most reliable” addition to the transit system’s train car fleet. Though they were supposed to be “nearly four times less likely to become disabled than older cars,” one train’s derailment in October 2021 shook the system.

A 7000-series train on the Blue Line derailed three times, leading the transit system to pull 60% of its train fleet from the rails to investigate. The train cars were gradually reentered into the fleet since then, with the transit system aiming to have them fully reinstalled by May.

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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