Chair Norton to Consult with Chair DeFazio About Hearing on Metro Derailment and Service Disruptions

Oct 19, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, which has jurisdiction over the Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), said today that she is deeply concerned about the derailment of a WMATA train last week, and will consult with Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) about holding a hearing on the derailment, the safety of WMATA’s 7000-series railcars, and ongoing service disruptions. Norton also said she has requested and expects briefings soon by the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Jennifer Homendy, and WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld. Norton is especially concerned that Metro knew about problems with the wheels on the 7000-series since 2017.

“As chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, which has jurisdiction over Metro, I have held many hearings myself on Metro in the past,” Norton said. “The NTSB has now determined that the affected train had at least two other minor derailments that day that went unnoticed because the train was able to re-rail itself.  During the final derailment, the electrified third rail was damaged, which could have caused a fire.  The derailment was caused when the wheels moved outward on the axle. I will consult with Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chair DeFazio about whether a hearing is possible on last week’s incident, safety concerns, and the ongoing operational problems Metro has encountered.”

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