A Good Place to Follow News About the Metro Crash

By June 23, 2009Infrastructure

Terrible accident. Our sincere condolences to those who lost loved ones on the train, and to the injured, best wishes on a quick recovery.

For all the problems daily newspapers have these days, they are still the best-equipped news organizations for telling a story of this nature — especially when they use the tools of the new media, including blogs.

The Washington Post’s “Get There” transportation and commuting blog is posting regular updates, including the highlights of a just-completed news conference:

  • There were no black boxes on the train that hit the stationary train, so no data will be available from that train
  • There were 9 event recorders on the train that was struck, so that data will eventually be recovered,
  • NTSB will be looking at possible mechanical causes, signalling and operator training among other issues.
  • Perhaps most significant: NTSB says it told Metro after the 2004 crash that it should put event recorders on the 1000 series of trains, and should make them more crashworthy. Metro did not do so. The 1000 series comprises about 30 percent of the fleet, and is being phased out. Metro head John Catoe did not have an immediate response about why those recommendations were not followed, but said the agency would do a full investigation.

Our only observation would be that if an institution can’t do the little things right — for example, escalator repair — the odds are greater that eventually big things go wrong, too.


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