The Metro service in Washington was affected for longer than 12 hours when three train cars derailed from the track. The train has just left Farragut North Station when it derailed.
One rider shared their experience when the train derailed:
"We felt something. It could have been running over some debris or there could have been a real issue—I don't know. But it was definitely an unusual feeling. The train continued until it was able to stop, the lights went out, and it kind of got a little smokey with burnt rubber."
Luckily, a burnt rubber smell and a short walk off the train was the only hardship occupants faced when the train stalled. The derailment is reported to have been caused by a broken rail, a symptom of much needed railway repair if true. Metro claims the section of rail that broke belongs to one of the oldest sections of railway in the Washington Metro system. Preliminary investigations have clarified that the track's infrastructure was the cause of the derailment.
Railroad Track Regulations
With how old this part of the track was, it is surprising that the issue was not caught before the derailment occurred. Federal regulations dictate that a track must be inspected at least once a month. This means that the track had to have been approved for use within the last 30 days. If a track can break due to old age, it calls into question the validity of track inspection regulation.
Old & New Railway Systems Facing Issues in Recent Past
Last month, a newly installed railway system in the state of Washington saw a train derailment that killed 3 passengers. This month, an old train system in Washington D.C. saw three of cars sliding off of the track. Luckily, the D.C. derailment did not impact passengers as the Washington state derailment did. Nevertheless, with an old track, and a new track, causing train derailments within a month of each other, these scenarios call into question the reliability and enforcement of railroad regulation. Hopefully railroad officials are thoroughly investigating tracks throughout the nation for similar wear.
D.C. Metro officials claim this incident should stand as the lone derailment of early 2018.