A National Transportation Safety Board investigation slammed Metro on
Tuesday for a “systemic breakdown of safety management at all levels”
leading to the deadly Red Line crash last summer, pointing to the
continued use of unsafe railcars, safety testing rules that were not
followed, and alarms that were ignored.

The board called for the agency to replace its oldest rail cars and 1,482 of about 3,000 track circuits.

The federal investigators called Metro’s current system of putting the Rohr 1000 series rail cars in the middle of trains, surrounded by newer model rail cars “ineffective” as an interim step.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said the board would like such steps to be taken “immediately” but said “realistically it will take some time.”

Metro signed a deal to buy new rail cars this week, but they will not
be ready until 2016, according to Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. It
was not clear when the agency could replace the track circuits, Metro
said, nor whether the $30 million the agency has allocated will pay
for the work.

Other recommendations addressed the broader safety culture of the
transit agency, including tougher oversight and involvement from the board of directors to improve Metro’s overall safety culture.

“Metro can do this,” Hersman said. “They just need to find the will to do it.”