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Metro investigators are trying to determine what caused a train traveling 11 mph to hit a train stopped outside Farragut West station shortly before 1 a.m. Monday, impacting service on three rail lines and snarling the commute for thousands of Washington-area riders at the beginning of the workweek.
No passengers were on board the trains, which were returning to their rail yards after ferrying riders following the end of Sunday night’s Washington Nationals game. The system had stayed open past its regular 11 p.m. closing to offer special service for fans leaving the park.
Both trains were on the eastbound track and had received stop orders due to a train ahead on the platform at Metro Center. Metro is investigating what caused Train 700 to start down the track again, striking Train 755, which was stopped outside Farragut West.
Both were six-car, 3000-series trains, which are among the system’s oldest.
Metro clears 3000-series cars for service after safety inspections
The root cause of the crash has not been determined, but Metro said data recorders and control center logs have ruled out signal system failures and the possibility that a track circuit might have lost contact with the train, taking it offline. The transit agency said its signal system knew where all nearby trains were and that “appropriate speed commands” were sent to the trains to maintain safe spacing between them.
“There are multiple people and trains involved, so that means a lot of data to download, correlate and understand what’s there,” said David Mayer, chief executive of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, the independent regional body with safety oversight of the system.
Metrorail safety oversight is returned to local authorities
The two train operators suffered minor injuries and were treated and released Monday. Both were interviewed separately by Metro and Metrorail Safety Commission investigators and underwent routine post-incident drug and alcohol testing, Metro said. Both will remain sidelined from operating trains until the investigation concludes.
This article first appeared on www.washingtonpost.com
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