A Metrorail Blue Line train that I was riding into Washington this morning kept stopping between stations. The obviously frustrated train operator finally told passengers that signal lights (known as “lunars”) were suddenly changing on him without prior notification. At one point by way of explanation he told us, “They must have forgotten we were here.” I suddenly realized that this was the same problem I wrote about last week regarding the Orange Line.
With reported signal problems on the Orange, Red and Blue lines, the obvious conclusion is that the computerized system that is supposed to keep Metro trains a safe distance apart is malfunctioning system-wide. But with all trains currently being operated in manual mode since the fatal June 2009 Red Line crash, train operators are totally dependent on the lunar signals. If the signals are not 100 percent reliable, the train operators are literally driving blind in dark tunnels.
Turns out that the New York Transit system also has signal problems, too. But the New York Post reports that transit supervisors there have been faking signal safety inspections – and threatening employees who don’t go along with the ruse.
“NYC Transit supervisors falsified thousands of vital signal inspections across the subway system for years, leaving straphangers at risk for deadly collisions like the one that killed nine people in Washington, D.C., The Post has learned.”
I’d hate to think that the same sort of criminal cover-up is going on in Washington.