The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has released the preliminary findings of the ongoing investigation into the low-speed train collision outside Farragut West, stating that there is no evidence of a signal system failure.
Even though the root cause of the accident has not yet been determined, signal system failures and “loss of shunt” were ruled out for the time being. Human factors are evaluated as a possible cause.
The investigation includes analysis of railcar data recorders, control center event logs, and signal system playback.
According to data analysis by WMATA, “all trains in the area were properly detected by the signal system, and appropriate speed commands were sent to the trains to maintain safe spacing.”
While the operators remains out of service during the investigation, both of them who are involved in the incident were interviewed on October 7 by Metro safety investigators and Washington Metrorail Safety Commission investigators. They also submitted to toxicology testing that was required.
Metro’s summary of preliminary findings as of Monday are as follows:
- A low-speed collision involving two non-passenger trains occurred at 12:54 a.m. Monday, October 7, on the eastbound track (track #1) outside Farragut West Station. The trains were returning to railyards after completing special post-baseball game trips.
- Train 755 was stopped outside Farragut West when it was struck in the rear by Train 700 at approximately 11 mph.
- Both trains received “zero speed” commands from the signal system due to an occupied track ahead (a train on the platform at Metro Center).
- Event recorders show Train 755 and Train 700 responded to the signal system commands and came to a stop, as required. The investigation is currently working to establish the sequence of events between Train 700 coming to a stop and the collision with Train 755.