Monday, June 22, 2009

Light Rail Crash in DC Area

No mode of transportation is without risk. Rail commutes are often touted as a safe alternative to auto commutes. I'd like to see comparisons on injuries and fatalities per passenger mile. I know this: When the train wrecks, many people are injured at once, with fatalities. From a USA Today report:

One Metro transit train smashed into the rear of another at the height of the capital city's Monday evening rush hour, killing at least six people and injuring scores of others as the front end of the trailing train jackknifed violently into the air and fell atop the first.

Cars of both trains were ripped open and smashed together in the worst accident in the Metrorail system's 33-year history. District of Columbia fire spokesman Alan Etter said crews had to cut some people out of what he described as a "mass casualty event." Rescue workers propped steel ladders up to the upper train cars to help survivors scramble to safety. Seats from the smashed cars spilled out onto the track.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said six were confirmed dead. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin said rescue workers treated 76 people at the scene and sent some of them to local hospitals, six with critical injuries. A search for further victims continued into the night.

Horrific stuff. Inexplicable quote:

"I don't know the reason for this accident," Metro's Catoe said. "I would still say the system is safe, but we've had an incident."

Yeah. Ok. Nothing to see here. I get it. What a load. If 6 people are killed when a train has crashed violently, and you cannot explain it, the system is decidedly unsafe, and dangerous. When you can explain the cause, and have it fixed, then the system is safer. Not safe, but more safe, since no mode of transportation is safe. All entail risk.

I know I don't want this in Fishers, sound economics aside.

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