WASHINGTON–Metro finally made it through a week with barely any issues. This week’s one major problem, a power outage that affected much of the District, was no fault of the transit system.
A second go at automatic train operation
Computers are taking over–computer-driven trains that is. Automatic train operation (ATO) is making its return to Metro trains Monday on the Red Line, which comes after $18 million in engineering work and six years after a fatal system failure, according to The Washington Post.
Metro has not used ATO since 2009, when a Red Line crash resulted in the death of nine people. Metro officials told the Post, however, that the ATO system will create a smoother ride for passengers, reduce delays and will be more energy efficient, which they say will save the agency money.
Power outage causes electrical troubles
A power outage left portions of Maryland and D.C. in the dark briefly Tuesday afternoon. The outage, caused by a power switching station equipment failure in Southern Maryland, impacted the White House, the State Department, other buildings in downtown D.C., the University of Maryland College Park campus and Metro.
Stations including Capitol Heights, Navy Yard, Anacostia and Potomac Avenue ran on backup power, but trains continued to operate throughout the outage. At the peak of the power loss, 13 stations were using emergency lighting, according to NBC4.
By 2:45 p.m. the power at all Metro stations had been restored, but there were still residual delays. The Bethesda station didn’t reopen until 6:15 p.m. due to an escalator outage caused by the power surge.
NTSB investigating second Metro incident
More smoke, more problems. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a second incident that happened a month after the Jan. 12 L’Enfant Plaza smoke event, which killed one person and injured scores of others.
An Orange Line train encountered smoke in a tunnel on Feb. 11, which raised questions about the cause of the smoke. The train was able to reverse out of the hazy tunnel and once the smoke was cleared, normal service resumed.
The NTSB is looking at possible similarities between the two events and trying to determine if electrical “arcing,” which caused smoke to fill the tunnel by the L’Enfant Plaza station, was to blame for both.