For immediate release: January 13, 2023

Metro enhancing rail operator training following internal safety investigation

Metro’s Safety and Readiness department is implementing new training procedures for Metrorail operators to enhance their on-the-job training using eight state-of-the-art 7000-series simulators.

The Safety and Readiness department, through an ongoing internal investigation into a red signal overrun on Dec. 6, found recent training classes did not follow the proper sequence of non-passenger and in-service training for train operators. Deviations were noted during the on-the-job training portion of the class. This information has been shared with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission as part of Metro’s internal investigation.

Student train operators are required to undergo extensive training that includes the following:

  • Several weeks of classroom training with an instructor
  • Must pass written practical exam
  • Eight weeks of Yard Practical Training (YPT) which includes eight hours of in-person, non-passenger training with an instructor on the mainline
  • 30 hours in revenue service with an instructor
  • Must pass practical exam for certification
  • Follow-up 30/60/90 day assessment

"Training enhancements that increase employee knowledge and confidence are an important part of strengthening safety culture," said Theresa M. Impastato, Chief of Safety and Readiness. "By conducting a full and transparent investigation, we are taking actions to better prepare our employees to improve the overall safety of our services."

The investigation confirmed that all active rail operators have completed requirements for safe operations of passenger service; however, 64 operators from recent training classes did not follow the proper training sequence. They will be given supplemental simulator training to reinforce safe operating practices. Current training classes will continue to follow the proper sequence of training, supplemented by additional use of the simulators.

As part of Metro’s organizational realignment, the technical training departments moved from the Operations department to the new Safety and Readiness department. This emphasizes Metro’s commitment to safety and transparency through the continued implementation of the agency’s Safety Management System.

This realignment specifically addresses corrective action plans that previously identified a need for developing curriculum and a holistic view of structured training.

"While we invest in a best-in-class new technical training program as part of our Safety Management System, we will quickly move to assess additional opportunities to improve overall instruction," said Impastato.