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NEWS

July 15, 2016

The three jurisdictions continue to work on an accelerated schedule to establish a legally and financially independent State Safety Oversight entity. Earlier this week, the Council of the District of Columbia introduced legislation for the establishment of the Metro Safety Commission. The Metro Safety Commission will be this new legally and financially independent State Safety Oversight entity. Similar legislation will also be introduced in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in the State of Maryland at the start of the next legislative session in January 2017.

The Metro Safety Commission Compact legislation is available via the menu on the left side of this page.

September 22, 2015

The Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC) was notified by WMATA of the Metrorail third rail power loss and evacuation that took place last night at Georgia Avenue-Petworth Station. TOC stayed in communication with WMATA representatives regarding the status of the emergency until all passengers were evacuated and power was restored. TOC will conduct an investigation with WMATA into this incident, identify the root causes, and develop corrective actions plans.

September 3, 2015

TOC is aware of the attempted child abduction took place on the Orange Line on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, as reported in various media outlets.

During the course of the incident, passengers reportedly experienced difficulty in attempting to contact the train operator via the on-board emergency intercoms. This is not the first instance in which TOC has been made aware of potential problems with WMATA’s on-board emergency intercoms, nor with emergency communications protocols and procedures. TOC has been monitoring several corrective actions resulting from an internal assessment in 2013 stemming from passenger complaints about the train intercom system. TOC continues to work with WMATA to monitor progress on the corrective actions and see the mitigations through to completion.

August 14, 2015

Emile Smith, previously the District of Columbia’s part-time member to the Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC), is TOC’s new Chair, effective immediately. Mr. Smith fills the role formerly held by Klara Baryshev, who continues to serve as a full-time TOC member.

Mr. Smith brings several years of experience with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and TOC specifically. Mr. Smith previously served as the District of Columbia’s full-time TOC member and more recently has worked in DDOT’s activities related to start-up of the DC Streetcar. Mr. Smith intends for the TOC to work with WMATA in implementing TOC’s recommendations from TOC’s continuous safety and security review process, as well as the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) recommendations from the recently-completed Safety Management Inspection (SMI), and generally work with WMATA and FTA to ensure the safety and security of the Metrorail riding public.

Mr. Smith, a DDOT official, is scheduled to remain Chair through the conclusion of the District of Columbia’s term as Chair of TOC in April 2016. All TOC-related inquiries should be directed to Mr. Smith.

August 13, 2015

The Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC) was provided advanced notice of WMATA’s intent to provide an update on the August 6, 2015 Metrorail derailment near Smithsonian Station.

TOC is gravely concerned at WMATA’s failure to address a major track defect in a timely manner. In recent TOC audits of various departments, TOC has observed and communicated to WMATA the deficiencies in implementation of maintenance procedures and standard operating procedures, in general. Earlier in 2015, TOC participated in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) Safety Management Inspection (SMI) of WMATA. As such, TOC is aware of and concurs with FTA’s Findings issued in the SMI Final Report regarding WMATA maintenance and inspection compliance:

  • R-25: Due to lack of track time, WMATA’s maintenance departments must consistently re-schedule work, and, as a result, have growing maintenance backlogs, dating back to 2012 and 2013.
  • R-27: Documented maintenance procedures and standard operating procedures are not implemented as required.

Further information on the FTA SMI, including the Final Report of the SMI of WMATA, is available on FTA’s website at http://fta.dot.gov.

TOC will meet with WMATA personnel for updates on this situation and will work with WMATA to ensure a thorough investigation is performed and that all necessary corrective actions are implemented with expediency. TOC is committed to addressing the systemic issues that have the potential to impact the safety and security of the Metrorail riding public, WMATA employees and the region’s investment in infrastructure.

June 22, 2015

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently published the final reports from its Safety Management Inspection of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), as well as the State Safety Oversight Program Audit of the TOC. TOC actively participated with FTA in all review areas, and we are in the process of digesting the findings and recommendations from both reports. TOC looks forward to working with FTA and WMATA to address the findings and recommendations identified in both reports. TOC is committed to its partnership with FTA to enhance its own safety program as we work toward TOC’s shared goal of the continued improvement of the safety and security of the Metrorail system.

The TOC has been, and remains, actively engaged in overseeing WMATA’s implementation of its safety program. The TOC often works cooperatively and collaboratively with WMATA towards the implementation of safety program requirements, and we believe this has resulted in benefits to the TOC program effectiveness given the structure and design of our program. In response to inquiries regarding the actions of the TOC in the wake of the issues identified by FTA, we are pleased to provide the following broad overview of TOC’s recent and ongoing program activities and initiatives:

Audits and inspections. TOC began the current cycle of “triennial” safety and security audits of WMATA in 2013. Starting with the current cycle, TOC began performing these required audits on an ongoing basis, with the current cycle scheduled to conclude later this year. TOC safety program audits completed as part of the current audit cycle include:

WMATA System Safety Program
Procurement
Roadway Worker Protection
Shop Safety/Facility & Equipment Inspections
Stations Maintenance and Inspections
Elevator/Escalator Maintenance and Inspections
Subway Tunnel Emergency Egress and Equipment
Automatic Train Control
Emergency Management
Radio and Communications System Maintenance and Inspections

All of the above audits have resulted in detailed reports describing findings and recommendations. These reports are published on the TOC website as they are finalized. TOC works closely with WMATA through the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) process to track and monitor WMATA’s responses to each finding and recommendation.

In addition to the above audits, which are part of the regularly-scheduled audit cycle, TOC also completed several special studies and audits in response to specific safety concerns, including fatigue management, yard safety, escalator barrier compliance, public address system checks in stations and on-board railcars, and an evaluation of the rule compliance and enforcement program.

The audits and inspections performed by the TOC are designed to serve as independent oversight of WMATA’s process implementation. That is, the TOC works to ensure that WMATA has appropriate plans, policies, and procedures in place to support the safety of the rail system, and that they are implementing the processes described therein. While TOC has a regular schedule of audits, and will conduct special audits in response to specific safety concerns, TOC audits and inspections are not intended to replace the routine maintenance, audit, and inspection programs that WMATA must implement as part of the overall operation and maintenance of the second-busiest rail transit system in the U.S.

Oversight of Accident Investigations and Hazard Management. As the State Safety Oversight Agency (SSOA), TOC is responsible for ensuring the investigation of accidents and incidents. While most SSOAs use the baseline requirements contained in current Federal rules, TOC’s investigation requirements go significantly above and beyond the minimum requirements. For example, unlike most SSOAs, TOC requires WMATA report the following accidents and incidents, which we feel warrant serious attention:

Derailments in rail yards
Red signal violations and overruns
Wrong-side door openings
Door openings while trains are in motion
Employee electrical shock exceeding 200 volts
Other WMATA employee injuries while on the job

TOC adopts WMATA’s investigation reports as its own, the TOC holds WMATA to a high standard, and all WMATA reports are subject to an iterative review and revision process. The TOC also reserves the authority to require WMATA to investigate hazards in response to specific safety concerns or deficiencies, and we have done so on multiple occasions since 2010. TOC believes that addressing hazards proactively helps prevent small occurrences that may appear innocuous individually from becoming major safety problems.

Corrective Action Plan (CAP) Tracking and Monitoring. The TOC holds monthly meetings with WMATA to discuss the status of open CAPs, which are developed by WMATA to correct deficiencies identified in TOC reviews, WMATA internal audits, accident and hazard investigations, and other sources. These monthly in-person meetings go significantly above and beyond baseline requirements under existing federal rules. The meetings allow TOC to interface directly with WMATA subject matter experts to understand the status and progress made on all CAPs, as well as obstacles and deficiencies preventing timely implementation. Due to the numerous audits and investigations that have taken place, there are many open CAPs. As with investigation reports, TOC holds WMATA to a high standard with regard to the appropriateness of the proposed actions, the analyses involved, and the proof required to demonstrate that each CAP has been fully implemented.

Regular reports to the WMATA Board of Directors. TOC gives a quarterly presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee. TOC is one of the only SSOAs to provide such reports at this level, and is TOC’s opportunity to ensure that the Board members are aware of TOC activities and concerns.

Oversight of Major Capital Projects. TOC has been closely engaged with WMATA on major projects such as the Silver Line Phase 1 and Phase 2 construction and the procurement of the 7000-series railcars. TOC’s responsibility is to oversee the “safety and security certification” process for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 and the railcars, which WMATA must use to ensure that they have identified and addressed potential safety hazards before carrying any passengers. TOC regularly attends project working meetings, reviews key project documents, and performed detailed reviews to gauge the readiness of these projects to operate safely and securely.

Establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WMATA. No other SSOA has a MOU with a transit system. TOC developed this MOU as part of the process to strengthen its oversight relationship with WMATA, and to better define the protocols for interfacing with WMATA leadership in cases where we are unable to reach agreement on key safety program activities at the staff level.

Compliance with MAP-21. Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act in 2012. MAP-21 included new provisions for public transportation safety, including SSOAs. In late 2013, FTA determined that the TOC was not compliant with MAP-21, along with almost every other SSOA (only two SSOAs nationwide were considered compliant). To reach compliance, the TOC and its three constituent jurisdictions (the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) have committed to establish a new, independent oversight agency, the Metro Safety Commission (MSC). The MSC is a long-term project described in TOC’s Certification Work Plan, which FTA approved in May 2014. Work towards the development of the MSC has advanced in collaboration of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Each jurisdiction must adopt and pass enabling legislation to create the MSC, and that legislation must grant the MSC the increased oversight authority required by MAP-21. Such authority is needed to be able to compel the transit agency to take action in response to safety deficiencies. The jurisdictions will take up such legislation as soon as FTA releases all relevant Final Rules regarding SSOA program requirements, and other rules regarding rail transit safety that are still forthcoming. SSOAs like the TOC will have three years following the release of the Final Rules to fully comply with MAP-21. In the interim period until the MSC is established, the TOC must continue to operate under its current structure. However, we are the process of making enhancements to the program to meet MAP-21 targets, including codifying new authorities in TOC’s key program documents. These enhancements will be directly transferrable to the MSC once it is created.

TOC response to January 12, 2015 Smoke Incident at L’Enfant Plaza. TOC was notified of the January 12th incident within two hours of occurrence, and TOC members responded to the scene to join the investigation at once. TOC became a formal party to the investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and TOC members become actively engaged in the investigation activities. TOC is committed to working with the NTSB to address investigation findings and recommendations to help ensure that an incident of this kind does not happen again.

June 10, 2015

The TOC is aware of WMATA's decision to remove the 4000-Series Metrorail cars from service to investigate recent door problems while in service.

The TOC is concerned about the frequency of these occurrences and, under its authority in the TOC Program Standard and Procedures, has requested that WMATA perform a formal hazard investigation to identify root and contributing causes, findings and recommendations, and corrective actions.

The TOC is committed to working with WMATA to ensure the continued safety and security of the Metrorail system.

April 6, 2015

For the last several weeks, TOC has participated in the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Safety Management Inspection (SMI) of WMATA. Thus far, TOC has participated in FTA's reviews of Metrorail operations, the Rail Operations Control Center, rail vehicle maintenance, track, signals and communications, capital programs, elevators and escalators, and other Metrorail disciplines. TOC has been in constant communication with FTA regarding review activities and observations. This is yet another activity undertaken by TOC's comprehensive approach to system safety of the Metrorail system. TOC looks forward to its continued coordination with FTA and all of the other Federal stakeholders in ensuring a safe and secure Metrorail system for the riding public.

For more information on the FTA SMI, please visit FTA's website at http://fta.dot.gov.

February 25, 2015

Over the last several weeks, TOC has continued its activities for its Safety Readiness Review of the WMATA 7000-Series Railcars. TOC continues to work with WMATA to ensure that the 7000-Series Railcars will be safe and secure for passenger revenue service.

The TOC also has continued its scheduled Three-Year Safety and Security Review schedule of selected WMATA Metrorail Elements. Within the last four weeks, TOC performed reviews of Automatic Train Control/Signals Maintenance and Radio Communications. TOC believes that these recent reviews have gone well and helps TOC in working with WMATA toward a shared goal of continuous safety improvement in the Metrorail System.

January 30, 2015

The Tri-State Oversight Committee recently posted the most recent reports from its ongoing safety and security review and audit program. These reports include the following:

These reports and others are available in the Program Documents section of the TOC website. Some of the information in these reports is considered Security Sensitive Information (SSI) under Section 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Parts 15 and 1520 and thus prohibited from public release.

January 13, 2015

The TOC is a party to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation of the fatal smoke incident that occurred Monday near L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail Station. Due to the NTSB investigation, the TOC is prohibited from commenting on the incident or circumstances related to the situation. Please contact the NTSB Public Affairs Office for any inquiries regarding the incident. As always the TOC will continue to accept information and will respond regarding any other safety issues as we continue to work on our ongoing mission of Metrorail safety oversight.

December 19, 2014

On Friday, December 19, 2014, the TOC continued its Safety and Readiness Review of the WMATA 7000-Series railcars. This review is intended to ensure that the 7000-Series railcars are safe and secure for passenger service.

The TOC is working closely with WMATA to facilitate a review that enables WMATA to continue its efforts in readying the cars for revenue service while also ensuring that safety- and security-related items are properly addressed.

The TOC will continue to closely monitor WMATA’s safety and security certification efforts on the 7000-series railcars as WMATA completes the necessary steps for preparing the cars for safe and secure passenger service.

December 8, 2014

On Friday December 5th, representatives from TOC and WMATA met to discuss the TOC’s concerns regarding flaws in the process used to ensure that the 7000-series railcars will be safe to carry passengers. TOC had publicly expressed these concerns at the November 20th WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee Meeting.

Pursuant to discussions with WMATA, TOC has received additional clarification intended to help address TOC’s concerns. TOC believes that, working closely with WMATA, we have identified a path forward that allows WMATA to better ensure that the new railcars will be safe.

TOC will continue to closely monitor WMATA’s certification process, and will perform a readiness review to ensure that WMATA has finished all of the necessary steps to ready the cars for safe and secure passenger service.

December 8, 2014

On Friday December 5th, representatives from TOC and WMATA met to discuss the TOC’s concerns regarding flaws in the process used to ensure that the 7000-series railcars will be safe to carry passengers. TOC had publicly expressed these concerns at the November 20th WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee Meeting.

Pursuant to discussions with WMATA, TOC has received additional clarification intended to help address TOC’s concerns. TOC believes that, working closely with WMATA, we have identified a path forward that allows WMATA to better ensure that the new railcars will be safe.

TOC will continue to closely monitor WMATA’s certification process, and will perform a readiness review to ensure that WMATA has finished all of the necessary steps to ready the cars for safe and secure passenger service.

November 20, 2014

The TOC delivered a quarterly presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee today. The report highlighted the TOC's recent activities:

  • The TOC continues to review the safety certification process for 7000-series railcars before they enter revenue service.
  • The TOC is working with WMATA to resolve Silver Line Phase 1 improvements while completing the foundation for Phase 2 oversight.
  • Following completion of the Silver Line, the TOC has redirected attention to its Three-Year Safety and Security Review schedule.
For more information, the slides from the TOC's presentation can be viewed here.

July 24, 2014

The TOC delivered a quarterly presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee today. The report highlighted the TOC’s recent activities:

  • The TOC is completing its verification of WMATA's actions that address results of the TOC's Silver Line Pre-Revenue Service Review.
  • The TOC will conduct a Safety Readiness Review of 7000-series railcars before they enter revenue service.
  • The TOC is beginning to implement a work plan to enhance State Safety Oversight activities as required for all states by new federal legislation.
For more information, the slides from the TOC’s presentation can be viewed here.

June 13, 2014

The Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC) recently completed its independent Pre-Revenue Service Review (PRSR) of the Silver Line, the forthcoming new extension to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) Metrorail system. The TOC performed the PRSR to ensure that the Silver Line will be ready for safe and secure passenger operations. The TOC reviewed the following areas:

  • Safety and Security Certification Verification Process
  • Systems, Equipment, and Maintenance Readiness
  • Security and Emergency Preparedness
  • Stations Readiness
  • Training
TOC will review Rail Operations before the Silver Line opens to the public. The TOC shared the results of its PRSR with WMATA, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The TOC will continue to monitor progress on Silver Line readiness during the pre-revenue phase of the project right up to the Silver Line's opening date for passenger service, which is currently anticipated to be in Summer 2014. The TOC looks forward to working with its partners at WMATA, MWAA, and FTA to ensure that the Silver Line extension will be ready for safe and secure passenger service.

December 5, 2013

The TOC delivered a quarterly presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee today. The report highlighted the TOC’s recent accomplishments, plans for the future, and topics related to WMATA Metrorail incident investigations.

Among the highlights of the TOC’s recent activities:

  • Ms. Klara Baryshev assumed the role of TOC Chair in September.
  • The TOC is part of the committee reviewing the fatal October 6 Red Line accident investigation
  • The TOC continues to monitor the Silver Line project’s progress toward certification for safety and security readiness. The TOC is now working together with the Federal Transit Administration to plan joint, final reviews of the project to occur prior to the start of revenue service.
  • The TOC's current cycle of independent safety and security audits of the Metrorail system continues to progress; the Federal Transit Administration requires that these reviews occur once within a three-year timeframe. The first review, which concluded in May, examined WMATA’s implementation of its procurement processes. The next audit, which covered several safety program topics, concluded in October. Future safety reviews in spring 2014 will cover Roadway Worker Protection training and compliance
For more information, the slides from the TOC’s presentation can be viewed here.

November 22, 2013

The TOC is heightening its continuing safety and security oversight of WMATA’s Silver Line extension as the project moves closer to opening to the public. The TOC has maintained an ongoing role in monitoring project developments for the last several years.

Currently, Dulles Transit Partners (DTP) is completing final construction details and conducting tests to certify that the extension meets safety and security specifications of the project plans. Once DTP completes this certification, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) will verify the safety certification and complete other transitional tasks before turning the extension over to WMATA. WMATA will then begin the “Pre-Revenue” phase, including training its employees and running non-passenger trains on a test schedule. At the same time, WMATA will also examine the DTP and MWAA certification documents to verify that all safety-critical project items (including, but not limited to, systems, facilities, equipment, procedures, and training) have been completed.

During the Pre-Revenue phase, the TOC must conduct its own final assessment of the Silver Line’s safety and security readiness. This review will be the culmination of TOC’s oversight of the safety and security certification program for Phase 1 of the Silver Line, and is designed to help ensure that the Silver Line will be safe and secure when it opens for passenger service. Dates marking the beginning of the Pre-Revenue phase, as well as the beginning of passenger service, have not been formally established by WMATA or MWAA; once they are set, TOC will schedule its own review. The TOC will also support WMATA’s efforts to ensure that the safety and security certification process has been completed prior to the start of passenger service. The TOC’s comprehensive review will seek to ensure WMATA has followed its safety and security plans and has formulated appropriate operations and maintenance procedures to integrate the Phase 1 Silver Line into service without hazardous conditions. Once successfully completed, the TOC will submit its approval of the entire safety and security process to the Federal Transit Administration. This approval, along with the approval of the WMATA Board of Directors for WMATA to start revenue operations, will signal the opening of the Silver Line for passenger service.

The TOC looks forward to conducting this assessment and joining the public on Silver Line service in 2014.

In summary, the transition of the Silver Line from construction to revenue service will occur in the following phases:

  1. DTP finishes construction and provides Safety and Security Certification to MWAA. MWAA verifies and accepts DTP’s certification and, if necessary, will work with DTP to resolve any outstanding issues.

  2. MWAA will then provide Safety and Security Certification to WMATA; WMATA begins its pre-revenue service activities on the Silver Line corridor.

  3. WMATA will verify MWAA’s Safety and Security Certification and start its own Safety and Security Certification process and pre-revenue operations; the TOC will actively monitor this process. The TOC will also conduct a concurrent Pre-Revenue Service Review (PRSR). The TOC’s PRSR results in an interim report to WMATA that identifies safety- and security-critical items, if any, that WMATA must address prior to the start of revenue service. These mitigations can be complete fixes or appropriate work-around. The TOC will monitor WMATA’s progress in mitigating these issues prior to the start of Silver Line revenue service.

  4. WMATA will issue a final Safety and Security Certification; the TOC will review this certification prior to the date of Silver Line revenue service. The TOC will then issue a formal concurrence to FTA.

  5. WMATA begins revenue service on the Silver Line. The TOC will continue to closely monitor any remaining open items and will integrate oversight of the Silver Line into the TOC’s overall oversight program.

October 7, 2013

The TOC is actively monitoring WMATA’s investigation of an accident that killed one contractor and injured two employees conducting work on the Red Line on Sunday. The Committee will provide questions and input into WMATA’s investigation, which the TOC must review and approve. The TOC will also work with WMATA to ensure that its investigation results in corrective actions to prevent the causes from reoccurring.

September 26, 2013

Klara Baryshev, a TOC member with an extensive safety and engineering background, became the organization’s new Chair as of Sept. 20. Ms. Baryshev fills the role formerly held by James Benton, who departed the TOC last week to work in the private sector.

Ms. Baryshev joined the TOC earlier this year after more than two decades in the safety department at WMATA, making her background knowledge of the system beneficial for the TOC’s responsibility to oversee WMATA’s safety and security programs. She intends for the TOC to maintain the rigor of its program while increasing focus on oversight of WMATA’s safety certification for new projects; this includes additional monitoring and reviews of the upcoming Silver Line extension before it enters passenger service.

Ms. Baryshev, a District of Columbia Department of Transportation official, is scheduled to remain Chair for two years.

July 11, 2013

The TOC delivered a quarterly presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee today. The report highlighted the TOC’s recent accomplishments, plans for the future, and topics related to WMATA Metrorail incident investigations.

Among the highlights of the TOC’s recent activities:

  • The TOC has started a new cycle of independent safety and security audits of the Metrorail system; the Federal Transit Administration requires that these reviews occur once within a three-year timeframe. The first review, which concluded in May, examined WMATA’s implementation of its procurement processes. The next audit, covering several safety program topics, is scheduled for August.
  • The TOC continues to monitor the Silver Line project’s progress toward certification for safety and security readiness. The TOC is now working together with the Federal Transit Administration to plan joint, final reviews of the project to occur later this year.
  • In response to a TOC request in April, WMATA continues to investigate human factors related to passenger complaints regarding emergency intercom functionality on-board Metro trains. WMATA announced last month that compatibility of certain types of railcars was to blame for technical issues related to intercoms, and has since corrected that portion of the problem.
For more information, the slides from the TOC’s presentation can be viewed here.

March 15, 2013

Recent media reports have described a Feb. 5 incident in which two WMATA employees were nearly struck by a train on the Orange Line between Vienna and Dunn Loring stations. The TOC would like to clarify that, contrary to news reports, this incident did not occur on the new Dulles Corridor/Silver Line. Although the train involved had been used for Silver Line testing, the incident itself relates to WMATA’s general practices and procedures but not the Silver Line. WMATA has been conducting a serious investigation into the incident, and the TOC continues to work with WMATA to prevent such an incident from happening again on the Metrorail system.

March 15, 2013

The TOC delivered a presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee on March 14. The TOC is invited to provide these status updates three to four times a year at the committee’s meetings. The report included the TOC's recent activities, a discussion of recent WMATA incident investigations, and improvements to the TOC's Corrective Action Plan tracking process. The presentation slides can be viewed here.

February 14, 2013

TOC met with staff from WMATA yesterday to discuss the preliminary results of the investigation into the January 30, 2013, train evacuation incident near Anacostia station on the Green Line. WMATA plans to share the preliminary results of its investigation conducted to date to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee today. The TOC and its executive leadership have expressed numerous questions and concerns regarding safety policies and procedures germane to this incident, and TOC members have been in regular contact with WMATA Safety Department personnel to obtain information about the investigation as it becomes available. Though WMATA's investigation remains ongoing, TOC is pleased with the thoroughness and level of detail of WMATA's investigative process to date. We believe that the early findings and recommendations relayed to the TOC thus far represent WMATA's ongoing commitment to improving the safety of the Metrorail system, a commitment shared with the TOC. As WMATA concludes its investigation, TOC will carefully review associated investigation reports to ensure that all safety oversight program requirements are adhered to.

December 31, 2012

The TOC will begin a new cycle of Three-Year Safety and Security Reviews of the Metrorail system in 2013. The last such reviews were conducted in 2010. These reviews are the TOC’s opportunity to verify through interviews, record inspections, and field reviews that WMATA is adhering to its safety and security plans and procedures. Through these audits, the TOC issues recommendations for improvements to safety and security programs. The TOC looks forward to working with WMATA as the new review cycle begins.

* * *

TOC representatives are troubled to hear news from New York City of a person killed after being intentionally pushed in front of a moving train on Thursday, December 27. This was the second such fatality at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority station this month. The TOC understands that although these incidents are extremely rare and did not occur in the Washington metropolitan area, they may cause some public concern. The TOC is working with WMATA to ensure they have appropriate measures in place to help prevent or mitigate such occurrences. Preventive measures may include police surveillance methods, technology, public service announcements, and assistance with those possibly in need of mental healthcare.

* * *

The TOC delivered a presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee in early December. The TOC is invited to provide these status updates three to four times a year at the committee’s meetings. The report highlighted the TOC’s recent accomplishments, plans for the future, and topics related to accident investigations and Corrective Action Plans. The presentation slides can be viewed here.

* * *

The TOC completed a special study of WMATA’s rules compliance programs in November. This study involved discussions, document reviews, and field observations with personnel responsible for checking whether Train Operators and other employees are following safety rules. In general, WMATA’s current rule compliance efforts mark a significant improvement over past practice. In early 2013, the TOC will issue a final report with detailed recommendations on how WMATA can strengthen its rule compliance programs.

September 13, 2012

Today, the TOC delivered a presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee. The TOC is invited to provide these status updates three to four times a year at the committee’s meetings. The report highlighted the TOC’s current activities, recent WMATA improvements to system safety, and progress on completing accident investigations and Corrective Action Plans. The presentation slides can be viewed here.

August 14, 2012

In recent months, WMATA has been confronted with many high-profile safety-related incidents, all of which have understandably generated significant public interest. As the oversight body responsible for monitoring WMATA’s investigations into these occurrences and its subsequent response, TOC has taken an active role in ensuring all necessary and appropriate steps are followed. At present, TOC continues to focus its attention on:

  • Doors opening off-platform (both confirmed and unconfirmed instances)
  • Escalator safety, including August 7, 2012 trip and fall accident
  • July 14, 2012 Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) power outage
  • The July 6, 2012 Green Line train derailment attributed to “heat kink”
  • The July 3, 2012 self-evacuation of passengers from a stalled train, partially attributed to a loss of power from Pepco and the severe weather that plagued the Metro region.
  • Four instances of the loss of friction rings (brake discs) from Metro trains from December 2011 through June 2012
  • The May 29th striking of a WMATA employee by a train at Shady Grove Yard

Although each of these events is troubling, WMATA has been responsive to TOC questions and concerns throughout the investigative process. Having visited incident sites and reviewed relevant reports and written materials, TOC is of the opinion that WMATA is committed to addressing these critical safety-related issues. While TOC does not directly investigate incidents or implement corrective actions, it does maintain the authority to reject WMATA’s factual conclusions and proposed reactions when the agency has not sufficiently addressed all potential root causes or areas of concern. With respect to the incidents listed above, this step has yet to be taken. TOC will continue to work with WMATA to monitor these cases to a final resolution. Further direct review of WMATA’s safety and security procedures will be provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which will be conducting its own independent audit of the agency – initiated in response to these same recent events – later this month. While TOC will be an active participant in these proceedings, it is not a direct subject of the audit. Nonetheless, the FTA’s findings will be an important source of information guiding TOC’s oversight moving forward.

July 10, 2012

TOC responded to the scene of a derailment on the Green Line that occurred on Friday, July 6, at approximately 4:45 p.m. 55 patrons were aboard the train at the time of the derailment, which occurred between the Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville stations. WMATA personnel and local first responders from Prince George’s County were also at the scene. Fortunately, no one was injured. Preliminary investigation results have identified “heat kink” as a probable cause of the derailment. Heat kink occurs when the rails expand and become warped or misaligned, and generally occur during very hot weather. In response to this finding, WMATA instituted a speed restriction on all above-ground segments of the Metrorail system, and WMATA employees have conducted additional inspections of the track and its alignment in order to help mitigate another such occurrence. As of Monday morning, July 9, WMATA lifted the heat-related speed restrictions on all lines. TOC believes that these are appropriate actions in response to this derailment. TOC will continue to monitor the investigation process.

TOC is also monitoring WMATA’s investigation of a Tuesday, July 3, incident in which passengers reportedly evacuated themselves from a train that had lost power between College Park and Prince George’s Plaza. A passenger reportedly activated an emergency handle to open a door, and approximately 200 passengers followed onto the unprotected track. TOC will work with WMATA to ensure the transit agency has and follows explicit procedures that employees must follow in the event of a disabling circumstance aboard trains, particularly during hot weather, to ensure that passengers stay safe and informed.

Additionally, the TOC continues to follow WMATA’s response to the TOC-WMATA Joint Fatigue Management Study conducted last year. The study focused on fatigue and hours of service for safety-critical WMATA employees such as Train Operators and maintenance personnel who work in the path of trains. Updates on proposed fatigue management initiatives are expected to be discussed during the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee meeting on Thursday, July 12. Although WMATA has elected to perform a similar study of its bus system, the TOC only has oversight jurisdiction over WMATA’s Metrorail safety and security.

June 21, 2012

As the third anniversary of the June 22, 2009, Metrorail collision at Fort Totten approaches, the Tri-State Oversight Committee expresses its condolences to loved ones of the deceased victims and to those who were injured.

Since the accident, the TOC and its Executives have strengthened its safety and security oversight of Metrorail in key areas. Some of these improvements and milestones include:

  • Substantially increasing the TOC's available financial resources, personnel, and technical expertise.
  • Expanding lines of communication with key transit safety stakeholders including the WMATA Board of Directors, senior management, and the general public.
  • Formalizing agreements between WMATA and the TOC member agencies that increase TOC's efficiency and strengthen its authority to respond to safety and security concerns, as well as clearly communicating roles and responsibilities for safety notification, hazard management, accident investigations, and other activities with WMATA.
  • Instituting a TOC Executive Committee of the top transportation officials each from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, to set policy direction and ensure ongoing and direct access to agency leadership on transit safety issues.
  • Launching special studies and investigations of safety and security trends at WMATA, such as a 2009 investigation of track worker safety, a 2010 evaluation of rule compliance in maintenance yards, and a 2011 joint TOC-WMATA study of fatigue among safety-critical Metrorail employees, as well as several other reviews in 2012.
  • Resolving all open findings from the Federal Transit Administration's 2010 audit of the TOC program.
  • Continuing our active safety and security oversight of major projects such as the Metrorail extension to Dulles, the procurement of new 7000-series railcars, and Metro's infrastructure-renewal program.
  • Preparing for major audits in 2013, including a comprehensive triennial TOC safety and security review of WMATA.

Working with WMATA, TOC looks forward to continuing our pursuit of ongoing safety and security improvements to the nation's second-largest rail transit system.

May 30, 2012

Yesterday at approximately 1:30 pm, WMATA's Safety Department notified TOC that an employee had been struck by a train at the Shady Grove rail maintenance facility. TOC staff responded to the scene, confirmed the report, and met with WMATA Safety representatives, as well as personnel from Metro Transit Police, railcar maintenance, and federal agencies including the National Transportation Safety Board. Over the course of the afternoon and into the evening, TOC personnel supported investigation activities including interviews, site inspections, and event reconstruction.

While it is fortunate that the employee in question appears to have survived, yesterday's incident will require a thorough evaluation of the adequacy of WMATA's yard safety policies and practices. Though WMATA remains the lead agency, TOC is ultimately responsible for approving the final accident investigation report, as well as any WMATA proposals for corrective action measures. With that in mind, TOC will continue to participate in, and monitor the progress of, the investigation into this serious incident.

May 15, 2012

At 9:41 am this morning, TOC was notified by WMATA safety staff of an incident near the Van Ness Red Line station in which some of the doors on a train set opened during movement. While it is fortunate that no one was hurt, TOC program standards clearly identify this as an unacceptable hazardous condition. In response, TOC has met with WMATA safety and operations staff in an effort to pinpoint the root cause of the failure, and will participate actively in their ongoing investigation. During this process, TOC will work to ensure WMATA's compliance with the requirements of its hazard management program, and will evaluate proposed corrective action plans as they are developed.

April 24, 2012

At approximately 7:15pm, TOC was notified of a derailment outside the Rosslyn Metro station. TOC personnel from Virginia and the District of Columbia responded to the scene to monitor and support WMATA's investigation, which at this time is still underway. TOC will work with WMATA to ascertain the root cause(s) of the incident and to develop corrective actions as appropriate.

April 20, 2012

On April 16, 2012, a Metrorail passenger suffered an apparent heart attack aboard a train, and despite the aid of bystanders and the Arlington County Fire Department, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. As this was a fatality on Metrorail property, and therefore a reportable incident, WMATA notified TOC through normal channels of communication with the Safety Department and Metro Transit Police.

However, late in the afternoon on April 19, 2012, TOC was advised that during the initial response to this incident, a passenger had attempted to use the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and found its batteries to be non-functioning. Follow-up conversations with senior WMATA Safety staff confirmed these facts. WMATA's immediate response to this situation has been to inspect all AEDs systemwide, expand their deployment, and formulate checklists and procedures for their inspection. The functionality of emergency equipment within Metrorail facilities is of critical importance and with that in mind, the TOC plans to review the proposed inspection procedures and independently evaluate their adequacy.

March 23, 2012

TOC continues to be activly engaged in monitoring the safety and security certification program for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, one of the largest and most complex transit projects in the United States. Phase I of the Dulles Corridor will branch off the existing Metrorail Orange Line just east of the West Falls Church Station, and will run through Tysons Corner to Reston. The photo below is of the Wiehle Avenue station in Reston, under construction. TOC representatives participated in a construction site tour as part of the most recent Federal Transit Administration quarterly meeting.



Crane hoisting pre-cast segments of the aerial structure into place along Route 7.



February 1, 2012

TOC is aware that WMATA will be closing the south entrance to the Dupont Circle Red Line station, starting today and continuing through October 2012, to conduct escalator repair and replacement. WMATA has responded to TOC requests for information regarding fire/life safety measures taken to support this action, including additional staffing, evacuation planning and pre-positioning of emergency resources. TOC staff also observed a recent full-scale drill, conducted by WMATA in concert with DC Fire & EMS, to test emergency response plans. TOC will continue to monitor WMATA’s safety activities on this project.

January 30, 2011

TOC has been actively monitoring WMATA's investigation of two recent incidents involving friction rings (brake components) that came loose from Metro trains. Although there were no injuries resulting from either of these incidents, they constitute a potentially hazardous condition. Consistent with our mandate to oversee Metro's hazard management process, TOC has and will continue to work closely with WMATA to ensure this matter is appropriately addressed. In the last 30 days, TOC representatives have responded to incident sites, conducted on-site observations of railcar inspections, and reviewed component service bulletins. Senior WMATA staff have provided TOC with multiple briefings on the progress of their investigation, as well as their interim safety mitigation measures. This information has been shared on an ongoing basis with senior leadership from the three TOC jurisdictions. TOC will continue our work to oversee the investigative process and to help ensure that both root and contributing causes are fully addressed.

December 20, 2011

The TOC was notified of an incident at the L'Enfant Plaza station that occurred earlier this morning. TOC personnel are en route to the scene of the incident and will actively participate in the investigation, alongside WMATA safety and maintenance personnel.

November 17, 2011

TOC, along with the WMATA Safety Department, presented the results of the Joint Fatigue Management Study to the WMATA Board of Directors on November 17, 2011. The final report from that effort can be viewed here, and the presentation made to the Board can be found here. The intent of the study was to examine current WMATA policy and practice for safety-sensitive employee hours of service and fatigue management. The study was begun as a result of several factors cited by the WMATA Board of Directors, including NTSB recommendations, APTA standards, and existing scholarship and research on employee fatigue. TOC and the WMATA Safety Department worked closely to ensure a joint-approach, with buy-in from all affected stakeholders. WMATA demonstrated transparency and willingness to support the goals and needs of the study.

Separately, TOC has posted minutes from the most recent monthly meetings on this site. They are available for download in the Meeting Minutes section.

June 24, 2011

Yesterday at the WMATA Board Safety & Security Committee meeting, the TOC presented a brief overview of our assessment of WMATA's yard rule compliance programs. In short, effective practices exist and are being implemented, but not consistently so. TOC formally transmitted the report to WMATA, and we will work with them to resolve the identified concerns. The TOC's summary report can be found here, or in our web site's Program Documents section.

April 15, 2011

On March 30th, the TOC formally transferred the position of Vice Chair to James Benton. Mr. Benton is a full-time TOC member representing the Maryland Department of Transportation, and joined the TOC in July 2010. Prior to the TOC, Mr. Benton was an employee of the Maryland Transit Administration for more than 26 years. We are pleased to have Mr. Benton serving in the capacity of Vice Chair.

April 7, 2011

The TOC has been notified that the National Transportation Safety Board has opened the dockets for three rail accident investigations at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Specifically, these are the investigations of the November 2009 West Falls Church yard collision, the January 2010 track worker fatalities near Rockville, and the February 2010 Red Line train derailment at Farragut North station. While NTSB is publicizing their findings of fact, they have not yet determined probable cause nor issued recommendations. Since the investigation processes are therefore still ongoing, and in light of TOC's participation as a party to said investigations, all requests for comment or information on these reports should be directed to the NTSB.

March 28, 2011

On Friday, March 25th, TOC personnel visited the WMATA rail facility at West Falls Church to assess compliance with the safety rules that govern train movement in yards. TOC interviewed WMATA rail operations and safety staff, reviewed forms and procedures, looked at records and conducted firsthand observations.

This was the first of a planned series of such visits to different rail yards. The data gathered from Friday's activities will be analyzed, along with that of future evaluations, in partnership with WMATA to identify best practices as well as areas for potential improvement. The TOC appreciates WMATA's cooperation and participation in these activities.

At right, a TOC member observes as a WMATA Safety Officer uses a radar gun to assess rule compliance in a rail yard.

March 23, 2011

The Tri-State Oversight Committee is preparing for our March 24, 2011 presentation before WMATA's Board Safety & Security Committee. We plan to discuss a range of issues, noting significant progress as well as areas in need of improvement. One of the latter, a concern over safety rule compliance in rail yards, was the subject of recent media coverage, which erroneously concluded that the TOC was "blaming" rail operators. As WMATA's oversight agency, the TOC is obligated to identify trends, analyze them, and follow up with WMATA for resolution. We do not assign blame or fault.

Any statement that TOC is solely faulting front-line Metro employees for rail yard rule compliance problems is inaccurate, and fails to consider other factors such as supervision, training, and audits. As noted publicly, we are satisfied with WMATA's initial response, and believe our concern over this specific issue should be viewed in the broader context of the significant safety progress noted in our full presentation.

March 3, 2011

On Tuesday, March 1st, TOC members met with representatives of the Federal Transit Administration, as well as WMATA staff, to discuss the resolution of open findings and recommendations from FTA's March 2010 audit report of the TOC/WMATA safety oversight program. TOC was able to provide justification for FTA to close four open audit findings, with two additional items that can likely be closed in the near future. WMATA was also able to close out some FTA recommendations addressed to their agency. TOC and WMATA will continue to work together to ensure long term resolution of the FTA's original findings, and to institutionalize organizational and cultural progress made over the last two years.

February 18, 2011

At 10:40am on today's date, TOC was notified of an escalator malfunction at the Foggy Bottom/GWU Blue-Orange Line Metrorail station, which had originally occurred around 9:15am. No Metro employees or patrons were injured. A TOC representative arrived at the scene within an hour of notification to speak with WMATA staff, take pictures and inspect the site.

While this was not a technically reportable accident, Metro Safety staff agreed that this incident might qualify as a potentially unacceptable hazardous condition as specified by their System Safety Program Plan, pending further investigation. TOC will work with WMATA's Safety Department to monitor the progress of that investigation.

February 3, 2011



On Monday, January 31st, the Tri-state Oversight Committee and contractor support staff visited the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and Dulles Transit Partners (DTP) personnel organized the visit, which took the group to sites such as the future Wiehle Avenue station, the Tyson's Corner tunnels, and the O-1 Guideway linking the Orange Line to the future Silver Line.



While TOC members and contractors regularly participate in the project's safety certification program, this was the first opportunity for the Committee as a whole to conduct firsthand observations and evaluations of the project's first phase. TOC's involvement in the Dulles project will increase as construction continues and operational testing begins.



The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project's two phases will eventually link Dulles International Airport to greater Washington via the WMATA rail network. MWAA is constructing the future Silver Line, but upon completion, will turn the new rail line over to WMATA for operation and maintenance.



January 12, 2011

On January 6th, the three TOC jurisdictions signed the 2011 TOC Program Standard & Procedures, or PS&P. This document, rooted in the federal regulation 49 CFR Part 659, lays out TOC's most current requirements and guidance for WMATA in their development of system safety and system security programs. The 2011 PS&P incorporates guidance from the Federal Transit Administration, new appendices such as the TOC-WMATA MOU, input from WMATA management and staff, and revisions identified as necessary by TOC members and contractors in 2010. It is available for public review here.

December 17, 2010

The TOC was pleased to note the WMATA Board's passage of the TOC-WMATA MOU at their meeting of December 16th, 2010. The MOU serves to codify roles and responsibilities between TOC and WMATA as they pertain to safety oversight of the rail system. These include sharing of information, time frames for investigations and hazard analyses, and enforcement mechanisms in the event of a critical safety hazard which cannot be otherwise resolved. The WMATA Board's approval of the MOU marks the culmination of months of work by TOC and WMATA staff, and we believe it represents a noteworthy achievement in formalizing the safety advances that WMATA and TOC have made in the last 18 months.

November 9, 2010

Since TOC released our final report from the 2010 Triennial Safety and Security Review, several media outlets have cited a finding from that report (available on this website) incorrectly and out of context. Specifically, news media outlets have stated that during the Triennial Safety and Security Review Process, TOC found that the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Extension is "in need of a post-9/11 security upgrade." This is misleading, and represents an inaccurate interpretation of the finding.

TOC has an oversight role in the safety and security certification process for the extension, and we are confident that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and WMATA have already included appropriate security features into the design of the project. Rather, the finding in question (Area of Concern 5-3) concerns the process for updating the WMATA Design Criteria. Those criteria should generally include the processes, design features, and equipment that are current standard practice for the Metrorail system; however, WMATA had not updated its Design Criteria to reflect current standard practice.

Since the old Design Criteria were referenced in the design-build contract, WMATA and MWAA negotiated for such security features as changes to the contract. Further questions on this matter should go to WMATA or MWAA. TOC's original finding was fundamentally a concern about a business process and is only tangentially related to the security of the Metrorail system, which we take very seriously. The full text of the finding is below:

Area of Concern 5-3. WMATA Design Criteria updates are incomplete. On the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project (DCMP), the version of WMATA Design Criteria referenced in the initial Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) design-build contract did not include current WMATA criteria. Subsequent changes required negotiations with the design-build contractor. Since then, WMATA produced new versions of the Design Criteria following P/I 4.14/1, Design Control Board, but it appears that Security Design Criteria have not been updated to reflect the additional process (threat and vulnerability assessment), design features (intrusion and WMD detection), and equipment (DVRs/CCTV/smart video systems) that are used in a "post-9/11" environment. This issue is problematic and should be addressed in cooperation with MTPD.

To close this finding, WMATA must:

  • Update its security design criteria in cooperation with MTPD to reflect the additional processes, design features, and equipment necessary in a "post-9/11" environment.
  • Provide the updated security design criteria to TOC.

November 3, 2010

In response to an escalator incident on October 30, 2010 in which several patrons were injured, the TOC was notified of the incident by the WMATA Safety Department's on-call safety officer. In accordance with our role as the State Safety Oversight (SSO) agency, any time two or more people require hospital treatment for an incident occurring on Metrorail property, we require WMATA to conduct an investigation in compliance with SSO requirements. Such an investigation must identify the root cause of the incident, and identify what corrective steps WMATA will take to prevent such an occurrence in the future. This incident clearly met those criteria, and upon the completion of the investigation, TOC will carefully review it to determine whether we can adopt that investigation, or whether WMATA needs to collect and provide additional information.

Since the investigation into the escalator incident of 10/30/2010 is currently ongoing, we cannot yet draw any meaningful conclusions about the general state of the escalators from this one occurrence. However, our Triennial Safety & Security Review (recently posted on our website) as well as an internal review conducted by Metro, did identify deficiencies in their escalator maintenance practices. Without speculating as to the cause of the 10/30 incident, we plan to monitor any proposed corrective actions WMATA will take as a result of the incident, as well as corrective actions that address the escalator maintenance issues identified during recent reviews and audits.

Though this investigation is not yet complete, TOC continues to monitor and verify the investigative process, and the steps that WMATA has taken, and will continue to take to address this serious safety issue.

October 12, 2010

On October 8, 2010, TOC submitted the Final Report from the 2010 Triennial Safety and Security Review to WMATA and FTA. After an extensive review and comment period, TOC is pleased to publicly release this report, which we believe will help both TOC and WMATA work toward our shared goal of improving the safety and security of the Metrorail system. TOC will work with WMATA to monitor the implementation and completion of Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) that address the findings contained in the report. TOC will support WMATA in its continuing efforts to improve overall system safety.

September 17, 2010

The presentation used by the TOC Chair at the September 16, 2010 WMATA Board meeting of the Customer Service, Operations & Safety subcommittee is now available on the TOC website .

September 16, 2010

On September 13th, the TOC Executives (the Secretaries of Transportation for Maryland and Virginia and the DC Director of Transportation) signed a revised TOC Memorandum of Understanding. The TOC MOU has established and empowered the oversight committee since 1997, and the current revision includes a number of improvements originally laid out in the April 2010 TOC White Paper.

These include formalizing communication between the TOC members and TOC Executives, additional authority for the TOC Chair, and the institution of meaningful authority to compel WMATA's compliance in the event of a critical unresolved safety issue on the rail system. The revised MOU now includes a provision in which the TOC Executives committed to additional enforcement authority, including (in the unlikely event that all other options had been fully exhausted) the delay, suspension or cancellation of state capital funding.

The new MOU responds to the some of the specific concerns identified in the Federal Transit Administration's March 4th, 2010 audit regarding TOC authority and responsiveness. TOC will submit it to the FTA as part of our regular audit updates. In addition, the signing of this MOU will help address the NTSB's recommendation to TOC to fully address the findings of that FTA's audit.

August 31, 2010

The TOC was pleased to note today that WMATA has moved forward with the signing and implementation of a new Roadway Worker Protection manual. The document provides safety guidance, rules and procedures for employees working on the Metrorail tracks. WMATA began developing it in partnership with TOC in December 2009, after a special audit by the Tri-state Oversight Committee found systemic problems with Metro's rules and practices for keeping track workers safe. Two roadway fatalities in January 2010 only emphasized the need for a better way forward.

TOC has participated regularly in WMATA's Roadway Worker Protection task force, offering our advice and input along with federal agencies, other transit systems and railroad companies. WMATA's process for soliciting and incorporating best practices from peer agencies, regulators and the private sector can be used as an effective model for improving track safety programs nationwide. While we plan to audit and evaluate this program once its implementation is complete, we at TOC believe the new Roadway Worker Protection Manual will help WMATA provide a higher level of track worker safety than ever before.

July 28, 2010

On Tuesday, July 27th, members from the three Tri-State Oversight Committee agencies (including the Chair and Vice-Chair) attended the NTSB's public meeting regarding the June 22, 2009 Red Line crash on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metrorail) system.

Since the day of the collision, the TOC has worked closely with the NTSB as a party to their investigation. Our committee fully supports the NTSB's determination of probable cause, and acknowledge that the TOC has faced challenges in discharging our oversight responsibilities due to the structure of the TOC program and to limited regulatory authority. The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia have committed to strengthening the TOC program, and have pledged additional resources for oversight activities.

We concur with the NTSB's recommendations and look forward to working with FTA, WMATA, the NTSB and our other partner safety organizations in the region to quickly and effectively implement them.

July 23, 2010

The TOC is pleased to announce the appointment of our second full-time member, James Benton, representing the Maryland Department of Transportation. Mr. Benton brings 26 years of experience in the rail transportation industry from his previous employment at the Maryland Transit Administration's Light Rail and subway operations.

July 6, 2010

On Friday evening (July 2, 2010) the TOC received a notification from WMATA's Chief Safety Officer, that a condition raising concerns about the safety of door control motor assemblies on 4000-series Metro railcars. We were informed that WMATA would be immediately removing those railcars from service until that condition could be corrected on each vehicle.

On Saturday, July 3rd, TOC members and consultant support staff participated in a conference call to discuss the identified problem with the 4000-series doors. Senior WMATA leadership as well as the Chief Safety Officer and support personnel were also on the call to provide information and respond to the TOC's questions and concerns.

On Sunday, July 4th, a TOC vehicle engineer met with WMATA's Chief Safety Officer and acting Deputy General Manager for Operations to conduct a field inspection of the 4000-series door motor overhaul process at the Greenbelt rail yard. As of Tuesday, July 6th, TOC has requested some additional information on this effort to help us independently analyze this hazard, as well as to assess WMATA's efforts in mitigating it.

WMATA has so far cooperated fully with the TOC on this matter, and based on the preliminary information gatghered by our organization, their decision to suspend the 4000-series railcars from passenger service appears to be a prudent and necessary measure. The TOC will continue to evaluate the situation and review Metro's safety efforts in accordance with our oversight responsibilities.

July 2, 2010

On Friday June 25, 2010, the TOC held a short out-briefing with WMATA to mark the conclusion of the on-site portion of the 2010 Triennial Safety and Security Review of the Metrorail. The TOC thanked WMATA for their cooperation and openness for the duration of the review. The TOC review team provided a brief verbal presentation of some preliminary findings observed during the on-site review. The findings described during this meeting were preliminary in nature; the TOC is still in the process of analyzing all of the information collected while on-site, and formulating some of its findings. The Triennial Safety and Security Review is, by design, a "snapshot" of WMATA's implementation of its System Safety Program Plan (SSPP) and Security & Emergency Preparedness Plan (SEPP). A primary function of the Triennial Safety and Security Review is for the TOC, as an independent oversight body, to document whether WMATA is operating in accordance with its SSPP and SEPP, and other WMATA plans, policies, procedures, and adopted standards. The TOC also uses the review to make recommendations for improving plans, policies, and procedures, as well as the appropriate use of resources. The review areas that will be discussed in the written report generally include, but are not limited to:

* Implementation of the Security and Emergency Preparedness Plan
* Implementation of the System Safety Program Plan
* Hazard management program
* Accident investigation process
* Internal safety and security audit program
* Rules and procedures compliance and enforcement
* Right-of-way worker protection program
* Facilities and equipment inspections
* Maintenance and inspection programs for safety critical systems
* Training and certification programs for front line employees
* Drug and alcohol testing program, and general employee fitness for duty

The TOC is fully aware that WMATA has faced challenges in recent times. WMATA has taken a number of positive steps to address safety-critical issues in recent months, and TOC will work closely with WMATA to ensure that WMATA continues to address safety and security issues, and that all of TOC's findings are addressed appropriately. In the coming weeks, TOC will be developing a written report. The report will lay out the Triennial Safety and Security Review process, describe the functional areas reviewed and current conditions observed, and list a series of findings designed to help WMATA in its efforts with continuous improvement of overall safety and security of the Metrorail system. In accordance with TOC's requirements, WMATA will develop and implement corrective actions to address each of TOC's findings. As with previous such reviews, TOC will monitor implementation of these corrective actions to ensure that WMATA abides by its own specified activities and timetables.

June 14, 2010

The TOC is entering the third week of its Triennial Safety and Security Review of the WMATA Metrorail system. TOC members and consultants continue this effort with interviews, site visits, field inspections and document reviews. Last week's review activities included:

* Field observations and maintenance-personnel interviews relating to elevator/escalator systems
* Assessing WMATA's compliance with Federal Transit Administration drug-and-alcohol testing requirements
* Records reviews pertaining to WMATA's traction and facilities power systems
* Interviews regarding Rail Operator, Supervisor and Controller training and certification program requirements
* Discussions with WMATA engineers and project managers about safety certification in major capital projects.

This week, TOC members and consultants will meet with WMATA personnel to evaluate additional rail transportation programs, as well as track inspection, on-track safety and security/emergency preparedness programs. The TOC again wishes to recognize WMATA's cooperation and support throughout this important effort.

June 9, 2010

The TOC's Triennial Safety & Security review of the WMATA Metrorail system continues this week as TOC members and consultants meet with WMATA personnel, conduct field inspections, and audit the rail transit agency's compliance with its rules, policies and procedures. Last week's review activities included, among others:

* Ride checks and rule compliance evaluations on the Red and Green Lines
* Observations at the Rail Operations Control Center
* Discussions with WMATA managers regarding capital programs, rulebook revisions and safety data collection
* On-site vehicle maintenance inspections at the Alexandria and West Falls Church rail yards
* Document reviews pertaining to the Automated Train Control system
* Tunnel and structural component inspections on the Blue, Yellow & Red Lines.

This week's review activities will examine procedures for rail operations and training programs, power systems, elevator and escalator maintenance, communications infrastructure and drug/alcohol testing, among others.
TOC appreciates WMATA's continued efforts in providing the support, access and information necessary to complete a comprehensive and accurate safety and security review.

 

 

 

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