Lack of Intrusion Detection Warning System for WMATA Red Line Fence between Union Station Portal and Elevated Structure near Brentwood Yard

Problem: On the Red Line Right of Way with Amtrak, for approximately 5,600 feet along Track B1 from the Union Station portal to the elevated structure north of Brentwood Yard, there is no Intrusion Detection Warning (IDW) system at locations where both WMATA and Amtrak share the same corridor and come as close as ~16′ on track centers. As a result, in the event of a derailment of any Amtrak equipment that breaches WMATA property, there would be no advance warning of an intrusion, which could lead to a collision.

WMATA’s IDW system is designed to run along fences where it shares corridors with railroads and highways. In the event of a train derailment or vehicle accident that breaches a monitored fence, a signal is sent to automatically stop all WMATA trains in the vicinity to avoid collisions or other accidents.

Recommendation to WMATA: Install IDW equipment in the affected area as soon as possible. This could be accomplished with several nights of early-out single tracking from NoMa to Rhode Island Avenue stations.

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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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WMATA: Immediate Action Needed to Replace Porcelain Third Rail Insulators at Federal Triangle Station

For Immediate Action by WMATA:

C-2017-01: Replacement of Porcelain Third Rail Insulators at Federal Triangle Station

In May 2016, after two separate incidents of exploding porcelain third rail insulators at McPherson Square and Federal Center SW stations (Rail Transit OPS is also reviewing another unreported incident), WMATA’s General Manager ordered all porcelain insulators be replaced with fiberglass insulators within the limits of all underground stations. This was reported to have been completed over the summer of 2016.

On November 17th, 2016 during a routine system evaluation, Rail Transit OPS personnel identified two porcelain insulators still installed within platform limits at Federal Triangle station on Track 1 (Largo/New Carrollton; Chain Marker D1 15+30). As of March 2nd, 2017, Rail Transit OPS is not aware of any action that has been taken to address these insulators as they remain unreplaced. Third rail insulator replacement requires, on average, approximately 5-10 minutes per insulator while power is deenergized to the third rail.

Below is a photo from March 2nd, 2017 depicting one of the insulators in question. The other is approximately 18 feet away.

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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.