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Monday, April 22, 2024

NTSB Issues Safety Alert Warning of Wheel Movement on Rail Transit Trains, Commuter Railroads – Security and Safety

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a safety alert calling on rail and rail transport agencies across the country to assess its wheel fleets for wheel systems that do not meet measurement specifications and take immediate action to correct the problem.

Safety Alert 083 “Passenger Car Wheel Alert” calls on transportation agencies and railroads to address the situation where wheels on certain railroad cars in the Washington Metro system have moved out of position mounted on the axis.

“The safety alert identifies the issue of wheel traffic on carriages and passenger railways as a serious problem that has the potential to create a catastrophic event,” said Robert Hall, director of the Office for Investigations of Railways, Pipes and Hazardous Materials. “As we continue to conduct the investigation of this deterioration, it is imperative that the safety issues identified be addressed immediately to protect the American public that travels daily in our transportation system.”

A wheel system outside the specification is not easily recognizable on routine visual inspection, and as a result, the situation may exist in the wheel assemblies and axles of transit cars or other passengers, the NTSB noted.

The movement problem of the wheel set was identified during the NTSB’s ongoing investigation of the October 12 rail drop that includes a WMATA train traveling south on the blue metro line between Ruslin and Arlington Cemetery stations in Arlington, Virginia. Of the 187 passengers on board, one passenger was taken to hospital for treatment.

In an initial report also released Wednesday in an October 12 accident, NTSB investigators said the train exited Ruslin station when one set of wheels in the train’s fourth car, car 7200, derailed. After derailing, the train traveled about 1,800 feet before stopping in a tunnel. All the train carriages remained upright and connected.

This graphical illustration shows the map of the blue and silver lines of WMATA and marks the locations where the 7200 vehicle derailed.  - NTSB

This graphical illustration shows the map of the blue and silver lines of WMATA and marks the locations where the 7200 vehicle derailed.


An initial review of data from an event recorder on board revealed that the train speed was about 33 km / h at the time of derailment. Switches.The train continued to travel toward Largo Town Center station.NTSB found that when the train left Largo Town Center station, the same set of wheels in car 7200 derailed and traveled again while moving through a pair of switches, and the train continued in through Washington DC toward Arlington, Washington. took place.

The NTSB investigation is ongoing. Additional investigative activities will focus on analyzing wheel kit failures, assessing the response of train traffic controllers, internal and external monitoring of the WMATA system, and identifying similar wheel problems on passenger cars.

Safety alert 083 is available online Here.

The NTSB Preliminary Report is available Here.


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