Metro Train Intercoms Malfunction

5:02 PM, Jun 19, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Broken intercoms on metro trains and emergency call buttons that don't work, are some of the issues metro riders have been complaining about for years.

Today Metro admitted the riders were right.

Dozens of trains run every day with emergency intercoms that do not work and in some cases they have not worked for nearly six years. The problem only happens when you have a newer model railcar leading older models on the same train.

That exact kind of configuration was on the train where a fight broke out on Monday, which started on the train right before the Woodley Park stop and spilled onto the platform.

Passengers on board the train told WUSA9 they were terrified. They tried alerting the driver to the fight by using the emergency call system, but they got no response.

Turns out, passengers in other rail cars did have a working intercom and they were able to contact the driver but that incident is a perfect example of why these intercoms are so important.

We spoke with Metro's spokesman Dan Stessel and asked why it took so long for Metro to figure out that they had a problem.

"That will be part of the general manager's review, it'll be a process that will be headed up by our chief safety officer and it will be presented in public at our board safety and security subcommittee," Stessel said. "He wants answers just as anyone would as to whether this could have been detected sooner and brought forward sooner.

In the meantime, Metro has already made some major improvements. Overnight they realigned all trains with that problematic configuration. Meaning, all intercoms and emergency call systems are now working.

They have also started doing random inspections. The permanent solution will take at least six-weeks to complete. Metro's expediting overtime for employees to make sure that work finishes as fast as possible.

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