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Mon Jun 22, 2020, 11:30 AM

On this day, June 22, 2009, two Metrorail trains collided on the Red Line near Takoma Park.

Last edited Mon Jun 22, 2020, 12:19 PM - Edit history (2)

June 2009 Washington Metro train collision

NTSB photo of accident scene

Date: June 22, 2009; 17:02 EDT (21:02 UTC)
Location: Between Takoma and Fort Totten, Northeast, Washington, D.C.
Coordinates: 38°57′37″N 77°0′21″W

During the afternoon rush hour of June 22, 2009, a subway train-on-train collision occurred between two southbound Red Line Washington Metro trains in Northeast, Washington, D.C., United States. A moving train collided with a train stopped ahead of it; the train operator along with eight passengers died, and 80 people were injured, making it the deadliest crash in the history of the Washington Metro.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation found that after a June 17 replacement of a track circuit component at what became the site of the June 22 collision, the track circuit had been suffering from parasitic oscillations which left it unable to reliably report when that stretch of track was occupied by a train. The struck train came to a stop because of traffic ahead. Because the entire train was within the faulty circuit, it became invisible to the Automatic Train Control (ATC) system. The train behind it was therefore commanded to proceed at 55 mph (89 km/h). The operator of the striking train applied the emergency brake after the stopped train came into full view, but there was not enough time to prevent the collision, which occurred at approximately 49 mph (79 km/h).


Collision of Two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail Trains Near Fort Totten Station
Washington, D.C.
June 22, 2009


Executive Summary

On Monday, June 22, 2009, about 4:58 p.m., eastern daylight time, inbound Washington
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail train 112 struck the rear of stopped
inbound Metrorail train 214. The accident occurred on aboveground track on the Metrorail Red
Line near the Fort Totten station in Washington, D.C. The lead car of train 112 struck the rear
car of train 214, causing the rear car of train 214 to telescope into the lead car of train 112,
resulting in a loss of occupant survival space in the lead car of about 63 feet (about 84 percent of
its total length). Nine people aboard train 112, including the train operator, were killed.
Emergency response agencies reported transporting 52 people to local hospitals. Damage to train
equipment was estimated to be $12 million.

Investigation Synopsis

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation found that the Metrorail
automatic train control system stopped detecting the presence of train 214 (the struck train),
which caused train 214 to stop and also allowed speed commands to be transmitted to train 112
(the striking train) until the collision. This loss of detection occurred because parasitic oscillation
in the General Railway Signal Company (GRS)/Alstom Signaling Inc. (Alstom) track circuit
modules was creating a spurious signal that mimicked a valid track circuit signal, thus causing
the track circuit to fail to detect the presence of train 214. The investigation found that the track
circuit modules did not function safely as part of a fail-safe train control system because
GRS/Alstom did not provide a maintenance plan that would detect anomalies in the track circuit
signal, such as parasitic oscillation, over the modules’ service life and prevent these anomalies
from being interpreted as valid track circuit signals.

The investigation examined two near-collisions in 2005 near the Rosslyn Metrorail
station that were the result of a loss of train detection. The track circuit in that case failed to
detect the presence of stopped trains between the Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn stations. Tests on
the circuit modules from the Rosslyn event conducted in 2009 as part of the Fort Totten
investigation showed that the Rosslyn modules exhibited parasitic oscillation, and archived data
showed that the Rosslyn track circuit had experienced this problem from as far back as 1988 (the
earliest time from which data were available). In response to the Rosslyn event, WMATA
developed, and issued technical bulletins requiring the use of an enhanced circuit verification test
procedure. However, none of the WMATA technicians interviewed as part of this investigation
was familiar with the enhanced procedure.


WMATA Metro Metrorail Fort Totten Crash Collision Animation
26,746 views•Aug 1, 2010

35 subscribers

Railroad Accident Report -- Collision of Two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail Trains Near Fort Totten Station, Washington, D.C., June 22, 2009 (DCA-09-MR-007)

Animation Description/Disclaimer

This narrated animation displays the sequence of operation of Metro trains 112 and 214, before they collided near the Ft. Totten Metro Station on June 22, 2010. The animation begins as Train 112 leaves the Takoma Park Station, about two and a half minutes before the accident. When Train 214 reaches the faulty track circuit, it is not detected by the train control system. Except for two brief periods when the speed command goes briefly to zero, indicating intermittent function of the faulty circuit, the train control system transmits an errant speed command of 55 mph to Train 112 as Train 214 occupies the faulty track circuit.


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Reply On this day, June 22, 2009, two Metrorail trains collided on the Red Line near Takoma Park. (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Jun 22 OP
soothsayer Jun 22 #1
mahatmakanejeeves Jun 22 #2

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 11:45 AM

1. How I miss local newscasters calling it fort trotten

It was a bad scene though.

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 12:02 PM

2. The wreck happened on a curve between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations.

There's a blind spot for eastbound trains where the tracks go under New Hampshire Avenue. The operator of the second train couldn't see the stopped train on the tracks in front of her.

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