Metro automatic train control could return in December, report says

Photo: Jay Westcott

More than three years after the Metro Red Line crash that killed nine people, the automation of some trains in the rail system could return by December, Unsuck DC Metro reports.

A source tells the WMATA watchdog blog that Automatic Train Control modules - the devices that tell trains to speed up, slow or brake based on track conditions and train spacing - have been nearly fully replaced on the Red Line.

A failure of those remote train controls led to the disastrous June 22, 2009 crash, which happened between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations in Northeast D.C. Nine people were killed and dozens more were injured in that incident.

In its final report, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that faulty track circuits installed to automatically control trains suffered catastrophic failures. In mid-September, the NTSB signed off on numerous safety recommendations spurred by the crash as completed by Metro.

One of those recommendations was the refurbishment of real-time track occupancy data.

According to Unsuck DC Metro, the Red Line is the only one of the five rail lines that would see the reintroduction of train automation.