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Accident Investigations

WMATA Smoke and Electrical Arcing Accident

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  • Accident No: DCA15FR004
  • Accident Type: Office of Railroad
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Date: 1/12/2015

​On January 12, 2015, about 3:15 p.m. eastern standard time, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail train 302 stopped after encountering an accumulation of heavy smoke while traveling southbound in a tunnel between the L’Enfant Plaza 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.

A following train, stopped at the L’Enfant Plaza Station at about 3:25 p.m., and was also affected by the heavy smoke. This train stopped about 100 feet short of the south end of the platform. Passengers of both trains, as well as passengers on the station platforms, were exposed to the heavy smoke.

Both Metrorail trains involved in this incident consisted of six passenger cars and were about 450 feet in length. As a result of the smoke, 86 passengers were transported to local medical facilities for treatment. There was one passenger fatality.


The docket for this investigation has been opened and is available.




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Peter Knudson
(202) 314-6100

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