Mystery Glitch Stops Washington, D.C., Trains

Officials continue to investigate bug in software program that tracks trains.

by / July 17, 2012 0

Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials are working to discover what caused the computer glitch that forced them to stop train service twice over the weekend. The agency said it does not know what caused the glitch in the software program that tracks trains, so it could happen again, reported NBC Washington.
The software that crashed isn’t vital to the operation of the trains and passengers were never in danger, Metro Assistant General Manager Dave Kubicek said, reported NBC Washington. But officials decided to stop the trains anyway, for 45 minutes Saturday afternoon and later that night, while the system rebooted. Kubicek said safety is the agency’s top priority.
“All safety systems that keep trains properly spaced remained fully operational during both occurrences,” a statement from the transportation agency said. “Train movement at all times was governed by wayside signals (essentially traffic lights alongside tracks), as well as speed commands transmitted to each train's control cab. Radio communication between the control center and trains was maintained at all times.”
Metro is also facing scrutiny for mismanaging funds, according to a recent inspector general audit, reported The Examiner. According to the report issued by Metro Inspector General Helen Lew, the transit authority failed to track its purchases, bought equipment that didn’t meet its own standards, and left some new items unused for at least two years.