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07/02/09   |   By

WMATA Officials Speak Out About Metro System Failure | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

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Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

Five days before last week’s deadly Metro crash, Metro employees replaced a component of the rail system known as a Wee-Z bond, a device that keeps trains at a safe distance apart, said WMATA’s Rail Chief, Dave Kubicek.  Yesterday, transit officials confirmed that the device malfunctioned, and no one at Metro detected the problem, according to a report by Lena Sun and Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post.  The report comments that investigators and transit officials commented yesterday that the circuitry malfunctioned and no one at Metro detected the problem.

The rail system is supposed to be fail-safe.  Yesterday’s revelations put Metro’s maintenance workers in the spotlight.  The hazard should have been discovered before the June 22 tragedy that killed 9 and injured at least 80 others.

According to the Post report, “Transit officials would not say yesterday whether they believe the malfunction was a result of faulty equipment or poor installation, citing the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.”

The track circuit at issue  “fluttered”, according to Kubicek.  One moment it would detect a train, and then the train would “disappear”.  He added that “Metro did not realize that there was problem until officials began examining data after the accident.”

Metro is now replacing many of  the system’s Wee-Z bonds because they are “approaching the end of their usefulness,” according to David Couch, who leads Metro’s infrastructure projects.Of course, this raises the question:  Why weren’t they replaced earlier? We know that at least one was well beyond its usefulness, unless it was incorrectly installed or maintained.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 1%” of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specialize in personal injury matters.  He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners.  His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA.  He has also been named a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyer magazine.  Mr. Zambri has authored an article regarding how automobile collision cases are evaluated.  To read it, please click here.

Many Americans are killed or injured each year in vehicular collisions.  If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

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