At about 5:15 PM EST on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Yellow Line Train 359 failed to stop within the platform limits at the Gallery Place station while enroute to Franconia-Springfield. The train subsequently opened its doors with one door beyond the station platform; the doors in the lead car appear to have been disabled, so they did not also open.

There were no injuries or damage, and equipment malfunction does not appear to be a contributing factor. This incident again highlights the concern Rail Transit OPS has with regards to WMATA operating train doors in the fully manual mode, which may have prevented this off-platform door operation from happening altogether [1].

WMATA Yellow Line Train 359 was operating as an eight-car train in manual mode from Greenbelt to Franconia-Springfield with operations being controlled from lead car 7168. At 5:15pm, Train 359 entered Gallery Place and stopped short of the platform end gate, at which point the train operator proceeded to adjust the train’s position. At this time, the train overshot the platform by approximately one hundred feet, resulting in the first car and doors five and six of the second car coming to rest in the tunnel beyond the station platform.

According to passenger reports, the operator left the lead train car in order to check the train’s position at the station. There was no apparent notification to the Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) regarding the overrun. The operator disengaged the circuit breaker, thereby preventing the doors on the first car from opening, but allowed doors five and six on the second car to open outside the platform. The operator serviced Gallery Place and continued on to Franconia-Springfield.

While in approach to Van Dorn Street station, ROCC contacted the operator of Train 359 to inquire if the train was properly berthed (positioned) at Gallery Place prior to door operation. The operator responded in the negative, that the train was not properly berthed when door operations were performed. The operator was then instructed to contact the terminal supervisor upon arrival at Franconia-Springfield.

Preliminary violations by Train 359’s operator potentially include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to report a station overrun
  • Failure to notify ROCC prior to departing the train
  • Failure to request permission to disengage door circuit breakers on lead car
  • Failure to report off-platform door operation

[1] WMATA train doors currently operate in what’s called Manual/Manual mode, in which the train operator has full control of door operations. The prior method of door operations before 2008 was Automatic/Manual, in which the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) subsystem controls the opening of train doors, while the train operator controls the closing process. Our urgent recommendation to WMATA that they return door operation to this Automatic/Manual mode is still outstanding.

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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.

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