Metrorail Shows Good Thinking
Just got my November '08 copy of Railway Track and Structures, and was pleased to read a story about how Metrorail dealt with a Track Inspector who failed to identify poor track (scroll down to October 17) that ultimately led to the derailment on June 9th of Train 905 near their Court House Station. I read this article wondering if that Inspector was "let go" as a result. I was gratified that such was not the case!
I was even more gratified to read that Metrorail has put into place a great deal of effort to insure that a similar superficial inspection was less likely to happen again. The inspector was not fired, but retrained. Further, Metrorail has installed a new Track Inspector Certification Program involving both written and other practical exams, and has made the Program mandatory for not only new but also current Track Inspectors. I was amazed to read that Metrorail employs a total of thirty-seven track inspectors, and that they all had completed the new training program by mid-October.
To be sure, as you read the article you will learn that the inspector failed to comply with many existing directives. To be sure, readers of Rip Track have, in the past, been critical of some of Metrorail's policies and operational practices. But this has to be seen as a step in the right direction when compared with what was traditionally done.
When I was climbing up the engineering organizational chart, the normal procedure was to send a new recruit out to inspect track without much more training than that recruit had learned as a laborer/machine operator/foreman. Such training could be good or bad, depending on who the recruit had worked for. In other words, a good boss equaled good training, and vice versa. If the new recruit was lucky, and learned the nuances of his trade, survival! If, on the other hand, the recruit shared the experience of our Metrorail Inspector, it was "back to your tools."
Metrorail's approach is better, more proactive. Good on 'em!
And, Happy Thanksgiving, too!