Feds: Metro red signal violations have almost doubled

WASHINGTON – Some of Metro’s plans to cut down on trains blowing past red signals have been approved, but the Federal Transit Administration says the violations are happening more often.

A letter released Friday as part of a larger inspection update notes that red signal violations nearly doubled at the start of this year compared to the two previous years.

“We note WMATA’s safety performance in this area is deteriorating,” the letter from the FTA dated May 30 said.

The FTA approved eight of 11 revised plans that Metro said will address the issues raised last August.

The agency rejected three of the plans because it was not clear whether Metro had realistic timelines for their implementation.

“The FTA considers stop signal overruns significant safety events with the potential to result in derailment, collision of passenger trains, and the striking of workers or equipment on the rail transit right-of-way. We are concerned that WMATA has not explained the implementation timelines it proposed for the three CAP proposals we are rejecting,” the letter said.

The issues that Metro must develop better plans to address include the following:

  • Better training for train operators for driving in railyards.
  • More clear signage to help identify the location of trains in the system;
  • New limits on train operators moving forward when the train does not have automated authorization to proceed.

The approved plans include improvements to training for train operators with a video simulation of mainline tracks, increased rules compliance checks, radio communication improvements and an improved investigation process for red signal violations.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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