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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-15-025
Details
Synopsis: On January 12, 2015, at3:15 p.m., eastern standard time, southbound WMATA Metrorail Yellow Line train 302 stopped after encountering heavy smoke in a tunnel between the L’EnfantPlaza station and the Potomac River Bridge. After stopping, the rear car of the train was about 386 feet from the south end of the L’Enfant Plaza station platform. The train operator contacted the WMATA Operations Control Center to announce that the train was stopped due to heavy smoke. A following train (train 510), which was stopped at the L’Enfant Plaza station at 3:25p.m., also was affected by the heavy smoke. This train stopped about 100 feet short of the south end of the platform, but its cars were entirely within the station. Train 510 was evacuated while it was stopped at the station platform. Police officers provided assistance in guiding passengers from the underground platform to the surface. Some of the passengers on board train 302 self-evacuated. Emergency responders were dispatched to the scene and assisted with evacuating passengers fromboth trains, as well as the station. Both Metrorail trains had six passenger cars. The length of each train was about 450feet. As a result of the smoke, 86 passengers were transported to local medical facilities for treatment. One passenger died. WMATA estimated initial damages were $120,000.
Recommendation: TO THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY: Promptly develop and implement a program to ensure that all power cable connector assemblies are properly constructed and installed in accordance with your engineering design specifications, including the weather tight seals that prevent intrusion by contaminants and moisture.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Washington, DC, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA15FR004
Accident Reports: ​Preliminary Report: WMATA Smoke and Electrical Arcing Accident in Washington, DCWashington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority L’Enfant Plaza Station Electrical Arcing and Smoke Accident
Report #: RAR-16-01
Accident Date: 1/12/2015
Issue Date: 6/8/2015
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
To: NTSB
Date: 4/5/2019
Response: -From Hakim Davis, Managing Director, Quality Assurance, Internal Compliance and Oversight (QICO), WMATA: This is a letter to request closure of Safety Recommendation NTSB R-15-025 stated, “Promptly develop and implement a program to ensure that all power cable connector assemblies are properly constructed and installed in accordance with your engineering design specifications, including the weather right seals that prevent intrusion by contaminants and moisture.” WMATA is providing the attached documentation of completed actionable items addressing the safety recommendation, as described in Corrective Action Plan R-15-025. Completion of actionable items demonstrates out organizational commitment to improving the safety and reliability of the Metrorail system, our riders and employees. Please see the attached actionable items and contact me for any additional information or clarification.

From: NTSB
To: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date: 10/12/2016
Response: We note that, as of June 30, 2016, 71% of the 8,347 total power cable connector assemblies have been retrofitted. We are aware that this is not a minor undertaking, and that the work is being conducted during midday, night, and weekend hours as well as use bus bridging between affected stations. We look forward to receiving your final report on this project in the fall of 2017. In the meantime, pending prompt completion of the project, Safety Recommendation R-15-025 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
To: NTSB
Date: 4/13/2016
Response: -From Louis J. Brown, Jr., Acting Chief Safety Officer: This communication is in response to your March 24, 2016, letter concerning the urgent safety recommendations (R-15-8 through-1 0) and safety recommendation R-15-25 issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concerning the investigation of the electrical arcing and smoke incident near the WMATA L'Enfant Plaza station in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2015. This letter provides a status update for these four recommendations (see attached matrix including estimated completion dates). In addition, in the collective review of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) NTSB recommendations, the attached documentation is provided for your consideration to support the closure of recommendation R-15-8, as all fans and ventilation systems are fully operable and in a state of good repair. As of March 24, 2016, 62.3% percent of the 8347 total power cable connector assemblies have been retrofitted in accordance with engineering design specifications. Final closeout of this recommendation is expected by mid-September 2017.

From: NTSB
To: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date: 3/24/2016
Response: We note that you currently plan to complete the inspection of 270 mainline locations, exclusive of rail yard locations, with about 6,400 boots, by mid-September 2017. We are aware that this is not a minor undertaking, but your proposed plan includes conducting the work solely on weekdays, and we question whether conducting at least some of the work during night and weekend hours might allow you to complete the project in a shorter timeframe, which would allow for reduced risk and less impact to commuters. We ask that you consider this suggestion. In the meantime, pending prompt completion of the project, Safety Recommendation R-15-25 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
To: NTSB
Date: 8/11/2015
Response: -From James M. Dougherty, Chief Safety Officer: This is in response to your February 11 , 2015, letter concerning the urgent safety recommendations (R-15-8 through-1 0) and your June 8, 2015, letter concerning safety recommendation R-15-25 issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concerning the investigation of the electrical arcing and smoke incident near the WMATA L'Enfant Plaza station in Washington, D.C., on January 12, 2015. This letter provides a status update for these four recommendations (see attached matrix including estimated completion dates). In addition, in the collective review of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) National Transportation Safety Board recommendation, the attached documentation is provided for your consideration to support the closure of recommendation R-15-8.