Recommendation 16-302.1 to WMATA on Roadway Worker Protection Procedures 

Date: Friday, October 28, 2016

From: Rail Transit OPS Group

Railroad: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

On Thursday, October 21, 2016, Train 303 failed to stop or reduce speed while approaching roadway personnel along WMATA BL/YL line tracks approximately 3,800 feet south of the National Airport station, resulting in a track incursion; Train 303 passed personnel by 375 feet before coming to a stop. Rail Transit OPS Group is recommending the following modification to the Roadway Worker Protection program:

> Discontinue the Individual Train Detection (ITD) program in lieu of a new program Individual Train Acknowledgement (ITA)

There would be two levels to ITA:

ITA-Level 1 would require that the following process be followed:

  1. Roadway Worker In Charge (RWIC) contacts the Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) to report work zone limits based on stations or interlockings
  2. ROCC makes a blanket announcement implementing a Manual, 35 MPH restriction for all mainline tracks involved in the work zone.
  3. As each train approaches the entry point to the work zone, the ROCC will individually address each train: “Train 123, entering ITA-Level 1 to XX, stop and proceed at 10 in place”
  4. Train operator repeats the call out in accordance with Cardinal Rule 1.79 requiring 100% verbatim readback and proceeds no greater than 35 MPH
  5. Upon first visual of roadway personnel the train operator is to sound one long blast of the train horn and bring the train to a complete stop awaiting hand acknowledgement from RWIC
  6. Upon verifying hand signal from RWIC, the train operator will sound two short blasts of the train horn and proceed at a speed not to exceed 10 MPH until the lead car reaches a distance of 700′ beyond the personnel

ITA-Level 2 follows the above process with the additional layer of implementation of slow speed couplers activated for the full work zone. Level 2 would apply in areas of track where there are significant or multiple hot zones of limited visibility and/or no clearance.

Under Automatic Train Operation (ATO), it is recommended that in work zones Performance Level 8 is activated for the entire work zone, with the train operator initiating ATO stop upon sighting of personnel and proceeding Mode 2 Level 1 per Item 6 until the train has cleared the work zone, at which point the train is returned to ATO.
Additional Recommendation (added 11.14.16)

> Alternate RWP Recommendation: Increase Track Crews by an additional watchman which would be stationed at the departure end of the station which starts the work zone to instruct train operators to operate speed no greater than thirty-five miles per hour until the next station and upon sighting of track personnel follow the above stop and proceed procedure. The additional watchman would advance to the next station in the direction the work crews are proceeding prior to the work crews entering the respective segment.