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Rail News: Safety

WMATA resumes 7000-series inspections

The interior of a new 7000-series rail car
Photo – WMATA

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has resumed inspections of its latest generation of rail cars after receiving a safety concern about its inspection procedures.

The agency yesterday temporarily halted inspections of its 7000-series rail cars after the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 voiced concerns about a worker receiving an electric shock while inspecting one of the units. The union represents WMATA's operators and clerical and maintenance workers.

WMATA has completed a review of the ATU's concern and found that the inspection procedures currently in place are "appropriate and consistent with manufacturer guidelines," agency officials said in a press release.

As a result, mechanical inspections of 7000-series rail cars continued yesterday afternoon following additional safety briefings with employees.

"Part of creating a safety culture means taking immediate action to address concerns raised by employees," said WMATA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Lavin. "If a concern cannot be immediately resolved or requires further investigation, sometimes additional steps — such as a safety stand-down — must be taken in an abundance of caution."

The agency's decision to suspend inspections of the 7000-series cars resulted in an 18 percent decrease in available trainsets yesterday morning.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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