DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton calls for Metro hearing after train derailment

The day after a National Transit Safety Board investigation revealed that last week’s Metro derailment could have proven to be catastrophe, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is calling for a hearing.

READ MORE: DC Metro pulls 60 percent of fleet due to derailment safety concerns

The Blue Line derailment near the Rosslyn Station prompted a federal investigation – which led to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority pulling 748 of its 7000-series cars, or 60% of its available cars.

In a statement, Norton pointed out that she is chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, which has jurisdiction over WMATA.

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Norton said she’s "particularly concerned" that WMATA knew about the problem as early as 2017.

According to the NTSB, the 7000-series cars have had 52 failures since 2017 – including 21 failures that have been identified since Friday.

The number of reported failures on the 7000-series trains has increased every year since 2018.

READ MORE: DC metro derailments could indicate problems in other cities’ transit systems, NTSB boss says

"Look just as people are getting ready to go back to work, the last thing we needed is more than 50% indeed 60% of our 7000-series trains to be out of commission." Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said.

According to NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy, the Blue Line derailment had significant potential for "fatalities and injuries."

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen says he supports Norton's call for a hearing and the region's senate delegation will take their own steps to follow up on the safety concerns.

"Number one: there was the failure to take action earlier," Sen. Van Hollen said. "That failure contributed to this derailment which could have been much more serious. And because of waiting so long before acting, also creating this paralysis in the system and service problems."


FOX 5 has learned that a congressional staffer who participated in a briefing Monday confirmed that Kawaski, who manufactured the cars, was part of discussions for a possible solution and those discussions began in 2017.

Kawaski did not respond to FOX 5's request for comment.