Following the worst <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/train_accidents">crash in the Washington DC Metroâ€™s 33-year history, it has been revealed that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made recommendations years ago that, said McClatchy Newspapers, were needed because of passenger vulnerability to â€œcatastrophic damageâ€ in the event of a crash. The collision killed nine and injured 80 people, some critically.
The NTSB recommendedâ€”three years agoâ€”that the Metro replace the type of rail car that was involved in the historic crash because of the cars alleged vulnerabilities, said McClatchy Newspapers. Although some of the cars have been in operation over 30 yearsâ€”since 1976, in some casesâ€”the Metro kept the dangerous cars due to financial constraints, reported McClatchy Newspapers.
The collision occurred when one train stopped short of the Fort Totten stationâ€”near the Maryland borderâ€”and was rammed from behind by the second train, UPI said. The second train came to rest on top of the first, something that indicates it was traveling at a high rate of speed. The Los Angeles Times reported that the crashâ€”which occurred during rush hourâ€”took place at around 5:00 p.m. on the Metroâ€™s Red Line, one of its busiest routes. McClatchy Newspapers noted that the first car of the six-car train that rammed into the second train was compressed to about one-third of its original size, â€œpeeling awayâ€ its floor.
NTSB spokeswoman, Bridget Serchak, said that Metroâ€™s not fixing or replacing its train cars was â€œunacceptable,â€ reported McClatchy Newspapers; Debbi Hersman, another NTSB spokeswoman concurred.
The striking train car was a 1000-series car, the model that the NTSB saidâ€”following a 2004 accident that injured 22â€”should be â€œimmediately phased out or retrofittedâ€ to better withstand a collision, said McClatchy Newspapers. The 1000-series is more than 30 years old and is, according to the NTSB in 2006, â€œvulnerable to catastrophic telescoping damage and complete loss of occupant survival space in a longitudinal end-structure collision …. The failure to have minimum crashworthiness standards for preventing telescoping of rail transit cars in collisions places an unnecessary risk on passengers and crew,” quoted McClatchy Newspapers.
According to a recent report in the Baltimore Sun, the NTSB has been a â€œpersistent criticâ€ of the Metro system for the last quarter century. After other incidents, the agency has criticized Metro for ignoring warnings from front-line managers, disregarding NTSB recommendations, and failing to learn from its mistakes. According to the Sun, after a fatal crash in 1996, the NTSB recommended that Metro reinforce its rail carsâ€™ structure to prevent â€œtelescopingâ€ during a crash. But for eight years, Metro resisted the move, complaining it would be too expensive. The Metro system is not required to follow NTSB recommendations, the Sun said.
BART, San Franciscoâ€™s mass transit system also uses the decades-old cars made by Rohr Industries, the same maker of the cars involved in this weekâ€™s Metro crash, said McClatchy Papers, noting that BART announced it will be replacing its series-1000 cars.
In addition to this weekâ€™s and the 2004 accident, 1000-series rail cars were involved in a 1982 accident in which three people were killed, said McClatchy Papers. In the Metroâ€™s 33-year history, there have been at least four other fatal accidents that have killed a total of seven people.