Critical Recommendation to WMATA for Roadway Worker Protection


Require roadway personnel to request foul time access prior to entering any known and/or apparent hotspot on the mainline where forward visibility is less than 1,500 feet. Train movement on the requested track would be prohibited until all personnel are clear of the hotspot.

This recommendation also applies in instances where visibility of the flag/watchman is less than 1,500 feet towards oncoming traffic, which would allow train operators to reduce their train’s speed to 10 MPH or less, as required. Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) personnel should request from roadway personnel the number of hotspots in the current work location and ensure that the appropriate number of foul time requests are submitted.

This recommendation is in response to several first-hand observations during the month of February in which trains passed watchmen and/or track crews at speeds greater than the maximum allowed speed of 10 MPH. In all instances during our field operations, incidents occurred in blind spot curves. Some such examples include:

  • 2-16-17 SV/Largo departing Stadium-Armory
  • 2-16-17 SV/Largo departing Benning Rd
  • 2-22-17 RD/Shady Grove approaching Woodley Park (1)
  • 2-26-17 RD/Shady Grove en route to Rhode Island Av (2)
  • 2-27-17 GR/Branch Av enroute to PG Plaza

(1) Two trains passed roadway personnel simultaneously while workers were standing on the catwalk between both tracks
(2) Currently being reviewed by WMATA & FTA


Rail Transit OPS Group is an independent, publicly-funded group that monitors rail transit operations, performance, and safety procedures to proactively address potential issues. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.