15 More Metro Employees Fired After Derailment at East Falls Church | NBC4 Washington

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15 More Metro Employees Fired After Derailment at East Falls Church

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    Metro has fired 15 more track inspectors following an investigation into the East Falls Church derailment last year. The announcement comes as Metro is also investigating a dangerous incident in which a train operator opened the doors of a train before it reached the platform. News4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss has details. (Published Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017)

    Fifteen more Metro employees have been fired following an investigation into the July 2016 derailment of a Metro train that revealed some employees falsified track inspection records. Six other workers were terminated in December due to the records issue.

    Metro officials made the announcement during a board meeting Thursday.

    About half of Metro's track inspection department had faced some sort of discipline over the incident. In total, 35 workers have received disciplinary action.

    Metro said Thursday that everyone in the track inspection department is taking at least a one-week refresher course.

    On July 29, 2016, two rail cars on an Orange Line train jolted off the tracks and derailed at a crossover point about 100 feet east of the East Falls Church station.

    At least one person was hurt.

    Seventy-five people were aboard the westbound Silver Line train when the fourth and fifth cars of the six-car train collapsed in the middle and left the tracks. 

    In a preliminary report about the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the tracks where the train derailed were in "severe" disrepair. The distance between the tracks in the area was nearly two inches wider than the standard set by Metro, according to the NTSB.

    Investigators also noted a "severe defective tie condition" in the area where the train derailed, and more than 30 feet of track had defective rail ties.

    An internal review of the incident revealed that certain employees in the track department falsified track inspection records, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement in December.

    Wiedefeld said the review "revealed a disturbing level of indifference, lack of accountability, and flagrant misconduct in a portion of Metro's track department."

    He said the issue of falsifying records got down to a systemic, cultural issue that needed to be changed at Metro.

    The employees fired in December were four track inspectors and two supervisors.

    At the time, Metro said that in the wake of the derailment, every interlocking was inspected, six Federal Railroad Administration-trained outside track inspectors were embedded to improve Metro's inspection process, and the track inspection manual was being rewritten.