Videos show Metro derailment as it happened; safety board meets to discuss investigation

- Videos released by Metro at a safety hearing on Thursday showed new images of a derailment that forced dozens of passengers to evacuate railcars and walk along the tracks and through a tunnel to safety.

The videos released captured the Jan. 15 incident that occurred along the section of the transit system's Red Line near the Farragut North Station. The videos showed vantage points from inside and outside of the cars and along the tracks as the evacuation was taking place.

One video, showed a split-screen view of the train, identified as an eight-car train that is part of the new 7000 series, heading down the tracks and, at the same time, the inside of the front rail car. It was difficult to identify the actual moment when the derailment occurred from watching the videos.

 

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said a section of the track appeared to have failed and that "all the signs are pointing to that this was just an anomaly."

The derailment happened on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday, at about 6:30 a.m. Fire officials said 63 passengers were escorted by emergency crews about 200 yards as they walked through the tunnel to the Metro Center station. Metro officials on Thursday acknowledged the incident could have been much worse if it had not been a federal holiday.

Officials at the safety hearing noted a communication issue in which the train operated struggled to get a signal to radio for help to crews above ground. A fix to that issue is a few years away, according to officials.

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