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D.C. Subway Doors Open While Train Is in Motion

Friday, May 18, 2012 - 06:01 PM

 (Photo by Martin Di Caro)

(Washington, D.C. -- WAMU) Subway doors shouldn't open while the train is in motion. But they did recently in Washington D.C. Scary stuff.

D.C. Metro's investigation team was able to replicate the mechanical problem that led to two incidents of uncommanded door openings on a Red Line train this week.

On Tuesday morning, riders told a Metro worker the doors were opening on their Red Line train while it was moving. That car — one of six in that train — was emptied of passengers and closed off. Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says the rest of the train was kept in service.

"There was no indication that it was a broader issue," said Stessel. "It was thought to be an issue just with a particular set of doors in that one car."

Later in the journey, the doors on another car in that same six-car train opened en route, and then the entire train was taken out of service. It's not uncommon during rush hour to see people packed right up against the doors of Metro cars. That's why some passengers wonder whether the problem that happened on two 1000 series rails cars could happen again.

Patricia Smith was thinking about it on her Red Line train commute today: "On a morning rush hour, I guarantee you people are packed against that door and it's scary to think it could open on you. That is why I am sitting down."

According to the Metro investigation, they were able to replicate the incident, focusing on a misalignment of the contact head that transfers information between cars. Stessel said this particular train consisted of two 5000 series cars in the front, two 1000s in the middle, and two 6000s in the rear. The problem appeared to stem from the connection between the 5000 and 1000 series cars, which caused an electrical short.

Metro will begin in inspection of all 5000-series cars for similar issues.

No one was injured in either incident.

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Comments [1]

Matthias

Those 1000s cannot be replaced soon enough. This issue may be an indirect result of creating mixed consists to sandwich the old units, following the Red Line crash in which the 1000-series cars telescoped. Unfortunately, due to underfunding, those original vehicles have remained in service far longer than they should have.

May. 21 2012 12:17 PM

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