Archive for June 22nd, 2009

Metro trains crash: time for automated equipment

The November 3, 2004 accident at Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan stationTwo Washington Metro trains collided today during afternoon rush hour. At least two deaths and multiple injuries have been reported.

The cause of the accident was reportedly due to a broken track that caused a derailment. Officials are not sure yet if the train collided head-on or if the derailed train was hit from behind.

Often train collision, such as the Los Angeles Metrolink train crash in September 2008, are due to human error. Even though in this case it appears that a broken track was to blame, the escalation of this event into a catastrophe may have been preventable.

This is not the first time Washington Metro trains have been involved in accidents. With the exception of one incident in 1996, which was attributed to the inability of train operators to override automated breaking systems, tragic accidents in 1982, 2004, 2005 and 2006 were in part attributed to human error.

Hopefully this event can be used as an awaking for transit systems to move to more advanced train control system, perhaps fully automated systems. Derailments may not be entirely preventable, but many collisions are. Perhaps we can use this tragic accident as a catalyst for upgrades to our transit systems in the United States. As many systems, such as BART in the San Francisco Bay Area, are due to fleet replacements this may be the opportune time to not only increase safety, but lower operating costs.

Link to BBC Video of the crash.

*NOTE: the image pictured above is from a 2004 incident.

© Brian A. Tyler and, 2009.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and/or concepts without express and written permission from this websites’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brian Tyler and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


June 2009
« May   Sep »