Orange Line Collision Injures Three

No customers were on the trains

By Asha Beh
|  Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009  |  Updated 12:01 AM EDT
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Yet Another Metro Crash Has People Wondering

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Yet Another Metro Crash Has People Wondering

Three workers were hurt in the rear-end collision.
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Metro officials are investigating a two train collision on the Orange Line this morning that injured three Metro workers.

A six-car train was pulling into the West Falls Church Metro rail yard at 4:27 a.m. when it struck the back of a parked train inside the rail yard. According to Metro, the driver of the train, who has been a Metro employee since May 2007 and a train operator since Nov. 2008, was finishing his shift when the accident happened.

Two employees were on board the parked train, cleaning it to get it ready for service, when it was hit. Those employees and the operator driving the six-car train were hurt during the accident and taken to a nearby hospital. All three were treated for minor, non life-threatening injuries and released.

No customers were on board the trains.

Two cars were derailed in the accident and all of the train cars suffered some damage. The two derailed cars were damaged beyond repair, according to Metro. The transit agency added that an estimate of the damages has yet to be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident, which called the crash-worthiness of Metro cars into question yet again. Both derailed cars Series 1000 cars, among the oldest in Metro's fleet. The NTSB recommended the replacement of that series of cars years ago.

Metro Board member Michael Brown said the transit agency simply doesn't have the money replace all the older cars.

A Statement has been issued Union President jackie Jeter saying:
"I am deeply troubled by the accident at West Falls Church Station," said Jackie Jeter, the transit workers union president in a statement. "On behalf of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, I extend thoughts and prayers to the operators for a speedy recovery.

"Sunday's accident is the fourth involving Metrorail workers since the fatal June 22 crash. Clearly worker and rider safety is a problem that continues to go unresolved."

The crash is the latest accident in a series for Metro. The June 22 crash that killed nine on the Red Line, a worker killed by a gravel spreader in August and another track repairman killed when he was hit by a train in September have kept the transit agency under the glare of the spotlight.

Metro also had trouble on the Red Line this morning. There was also a train malfunction at Wheaton. It has been resolved, but is still causing delays on the way to Shady Grove.

There was also a mechanical problem at Dupont Circle at the Q St. entrance. Like last weekend, all entrance escalators were out of service. That issue has been resolved as well.     

Metro said it has contacted the Tri-State Oversight Committee and the National Transportation Safety Board about Sunday's accident on the Orange Line.

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