No Plans for Automated Operation 10 Years After Metro Crash: Sources

Ten years after two Metro trains collided killing nine and injuring dozens after the automatic train control system failed, the agency has no plans to return to automated operation.

When the automatic control system failed June 22, 2009, one train slammed into the back of another between Fort Totten and Takoma on the Red Line. Automated control has never been fully reactivated.

Last year, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told News4 the automatic mode would come back, but Metro sources say there is no timetable for that to happen.

Metro did announce Wednesday it will start using its automatic door-opening feature on the Red Line July 7 and the rest of the lines later in the year. This should prevent doors opening on the wrong side because of human error, and eliminate the delay of several seconds required as a safety measure during manual operation.

Victims’ families say they still don’t trust the system.

“There’s not been a lot of change that has happened to assure the public that this incident would not happen again,” said Tawanda Brown, who lost her daughter, Nikki King, in the crash.

She has been raising King’s two boys since that day.

“The boys were 2 and 3 then, but now they are 12 and 13, and so they are at a stage in their life where they are asking questions about their beautiful mom — like how tall she was or what did she like and what was her personality and what did she eat — so when they ask questions like that, it makes you relive the loss of the one that you love.”

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