NTSB report: Metro operator thought derailment was stuck brake

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that warns subway systems and commuter railroads nationwide about a wheelset problem also includes more details on how events unfolded following Metro’s Oct. 12 derailment.

After the Blue Line train came to rest between the Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations, the train operator told the control center that he believed there was a stuck brake, according to the NTSB.

The report says a rail controller then told the operator to try to move the train, which wasn’t possible. The derailed axle was noticed after a supervisor arrived on scene.

The update says the derailment happened at around 4:51 p.m., power was cut off to the third rail at 5:03 p.m., and that the evacuation of passengers began at 6:20 p.m. and finished at 7:16 p.m.

Damage was estimated at $715,000 by Metro.

The NTSB said one of the multiple areas it’s investigating is the response from rail traffic controllers.

That derailment led to Metro pulling the majority of its rail cars from service. Metro now says an initial round of testing has been completed, and next steps will be determined after consulting with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.

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John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP.

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