Metro says there's 'more work to be done' 10 years after deadly Red Line crash

WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) -- Ten years after the deadliest crash in Metro's history, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said there's still more work left to be done.

"While the work to foster a safety culture is never done, and while there is more work to be done to rebuild the system, we believe that Metro is on the right track to restoring the system that residents of this region expect and deserve," General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement.

Saturday marks a decade since one Red Line train slammed into another, killing nine people and injuring dozens more. Wiedefeld's statement came in response to an inquiry asking what Metro has done since the time of the crash to keep riders safe.

"Our focus first and foremost is the safety of our customers and employees. We now operate with the overriding philosophy that 'safety trumps service,' as we demonstrated with the emergency shutdown of the entire rail system to inspect power cables, to the year-long SafeTrack program, to the current effort to address the structural integrity of the platforms," the statement said in part.

Zachary Schrag, a George Mason University professor who wrote a book about the history of the Metro, added that many people started paying more attention to the age of the transit system after the crash, realizing, he said, that infrastructure needs maintenance.

"Metro was shiny and new in the 1970's. It worked very well for a long time, and then what people began to realize - in the 1990's but even more so after 2009 - was that a new system doesn't stay new forever," Schrag explained, adding that there's been more of a focus on rehabilitation since the crash - of the tracks, of the signals, and of the railcars themselves. Although whether enough of the work has been done, he said, is a matter of ongoing debate.

A memorial ceremony to remember victims of the crash is planned for Saturday morning at Legacy Memorial Park.