WASHINGTON — A six-car Metrorail train struck the rear of a parked six-car train at West Falls Church Rail Yard. The collision happened at 4:27 a.m. today, Nov. 29.
Three employees sustained minor, non life-threatening injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital where they were treated and released. No customers were on board the trains. Service to customers was not affected when the rail system opened this morning at 7 a.m., officials said.
Train No. 902 was the last train of the night pulling into the rail yard when it struck the last car of a six-car train that was parked in the yard. Two employees were on board the parked train waiting for train 902 to pull in behind the train that they were on so they could climb onboard to clean it. The parked train had no identification number assigned to it because it was not in service. Trains are assigned an identification number when they are about to go into service.
Train speed inside a rail yard is typically 15 mph or less.
The operator of train 902 has been a Metro employee since May 2007 and a train operator since November 2008. He was finishing his shift when the accident took place, officials said.
Train No. 902 was comprised of rail car Nos.5056, 5057, 1171, 1170, 3223 and 3222. The parked train was comprised of rail car Nos. 5138, 5139, 1107, 1106, 3216 and 3217. The lead car (5056) of train 902 made contact with the rear car (3217) of the parked train. All of the rail cars sustained some level of damage and two cars derailed. At least one car received significant damage and is not likely to be able to be repaired. Rail car maintenance officials will need to determine the extent of damage to all of the rail cars. No estimate of damage has been determined.
Metro’s Safety and Rail Department officials are conducting an investigation into the incident to determine why the accident took place. Metro’s Safety Office contacted the Tri-State Oversight Committee and the National Transportation Safety Board to alert them to the accident.