Grant to Help Pay for New Safety Gear for Metro Workers

WASHINGTON — After two federal safety inspectors were nearly run over on the tracks, Metro is receiving $1.8 million to try out a new worker safety program that could also end a long-running delay for riders.

The grant from the Federal Transit Administration will fund armbands that can alert workers when a train is coming and they need to get out of the way.

Metro applied for the grant in the fall after federal inspectors dove out of the way of a speeding train near Reagan National Airport. The grant award was announced Tuesday by Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

In an email, Metro said it expects to begin a pilot test of the armbands in February.

“If the tests are successful, this technology will mean a safer workplace for hundreds of track workers and inspectors across the Metrorail system,” a statement from General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.

Since October, speed restrictions have slowed Blue and Yellow line trains along the curve near Reagan National Airport where the inspector were almost struck. The curve, coupled with a train on the opposite track, make it difficult for track workers and train operators alike to see what’s coming around the bend.

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