Potentially terrible news: Metro knew of circuit problem?

This could very well turn out to be a huge story. WJLA-TV has two anonymous sources that say Metro knew about the circuit problems on the Red Line five days before the fatal crash. From the ABC7 piece:
WASHINGTON - Sources tell ABC 7 News there are significant new findings on what led to the breakdown on Metro last Monday.

Two sources who must remain anonymous because they are close to the investigation allege that Metro technicians knew about a serious circuit problem on the track five days before the deadly accident and that they allegedly reported the problem to supervisors days before nine people lost their lives.

On June 17, the sources say several technicians discovered a circuit near the accident scene, known as a weezie bond, was not working properly. Metro explains that particular circuit communicates train speed and distance between the tracks, trains, and the operations control center.

The sources explain there was bobbing in the circuit -- meaning it was intermittently dropping out and could possibly be unable to detect a train on the track.
Furthermore: "Sources say the technicians all claimed they notified supervisors and Metro's maintenance operations center about the circuit problem five days before that collision and that the information was entered into Metro's maintenance computer database."

WMATA Spokesperson Lisa Farbstein was caught off guard when asked about this, saying only: "I am not aware -- no one has shared with me. I wouldn't have access to those types of memos if there were -- I am not saying there were I just honestly don't know."

No, I'm not taking down the Catoe Watch anytime soon.

What did they know, and when did they know it?


  1. Please see Metro's Real Deal on this issue:

    And John Catoe's comments on the NTSB Update:

  2. I'm not sure how either of those links relates to the assertion that a report was filed five days before the crash about a failure in the circuit...

  3. I think it's wise not to take the Catoe Watch down...it shouldn't an "activist" to get Catoe to take responsability for his mistakes

  4. Yeah, that's some good reporting by ABC. Good retweeting, Dave.

  5. A mat exists to catch debris and to absorb stray fluids.

    I wipe my feet on mat.

  6. That "real deal" doesn't really inspire a lot of confidence.

    Original quote: "The WTOP Web story quotes a Metro spokesperson as saying that the rail system "can’t get any safer." The full context of that quote was not included in the story.

    The correction:

    "In the bigger picture, the rail system is as safe as it can be and officials are always looking for ways to be safer. "

    So... "it's as safe as it can be" isn't synonymous with "it can't get any safer?"

    If there's a distinction between those two comments it's lost on me. I'd say that any system that has accidents is not "as safe as it can be" and absolutely can "get any safer."