WASHINGTON - Normal service has resumed on Metro's Red Line one day after a train carrying more than 60 passengers derailed on Monday morning. No one was injured during the incident, but first responders had to evacuate passengers from the train cars stranded underneath the tunnel.
Metro disclosed that there were communication issues between Metro workers above ground and below ground after the derailment occurred. Metro said this area of the tunnel has spotty communication, but they have pinpointed the issue and believe the equipment needs to be fixed. They are planning to make the fix Tuesday night.
However, since the deadly L'Enfant Plaza incident on a smoky Metro train back in Jan. 2015, D.C. Fire Chief Gregory Dean said new collaboration and system checks have greatly improved their communication during these types of Metro incidents.
"The fact that we are continuing to do drilling, the fact that we do radio checks every couple of weeks down there to make sure the radios are working, all of those things are advancements from where we were three years ago," said Chief Dean.
When Monday's derailment took place, a member of the fire department was staffed with Metro officials as they teamed up and went to work to get the passengers off the derailed train.
"The initial plan was, 'Hey, let's try a rescue train,'" he said. "We determined after about 20 minutes that wasn't going to work. We took the power off and then went back and walked the people out. It took about 40 minutes to walk them out."
Mayor Muriel Bowser said she questioned her public safety team Tuesday morning wanting to know if the improvements made since the L'Enfant Plaza tragedy actually worked.
"All of that happened and our checks of what they call a repeater system to ensure that radio communication can come up out of the tunnel worked for us," said Bowser.
However, communications apparently did not work for Metro employees during Monday's derailment. Audio obtained by FOX 5 from radio communications described workers having issues with radio transmissions along with phone reception.
"WMATA radio engineers have identified specific actions to address the coverage issues and have been granted track access overnight Tuesday to fix the problems," said Metro chief safety officer Patrick Lavin.
Metro said the area of track where the derailment took place underwent an ultrasonic test on Aug. 9. On Oct. 2, they performed a track geometry test.
Then on Jan. 3, 7 and 10, Metro workers walked the tracks, but didn't discover any problems at all, according to Metro officials.