Digest: Commission investigating separation of moving DC Metro train

News Wire Digest second section for Oct. 12: Surveying begins for Atlanta BeltLine light rail; Virginia Railway Express cancels Santa Trains
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An investigation has begun into a Friday incident in which a DC Metro train separated while in motion.
Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, via Twitter
The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission is examining the coupler assembly involved in the separation as part of its investigation into Friday's incident.
Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, via Twitter

Monday morning transit and commuter rail news:

Investigation underway into Friday separation of DC Metro train
The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission is investigating a Friday incident in which cars of a DC Metro Red Line train separated while the train was in motion. More than 100 passengers were stranded on a DC Metro Red Line train for more than an hour Friday when two cars of separated suddenly while the train was in motion. The Washington Post reports the separation between the second and third cars of the eight-car train occurred as the train was departing Washington Union Station. A small tie fire broke out but was put out with a fire extinguisher. The 108 passengers on board were held on the train until the electrified third rail could be shut off, then were evacuated. No one was injured, although two passengers received treatment after complaining of chest pains or shortness of breath. In a Twitter message Saturday, the safety commission reported it was examining the coupler assembly, reviewing car maintenance history, and taking “a number of other steps as part of the early process to identify potential root causes.”

MARTA begins surveying for BeltLine light rail project
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority is scheduled to begin surveying today for construction of a light rail system along the Atlanta BeltLine, beginning the survey along the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. An announcement from Atlanta BeltLine Inc. says trail users can expect to see survey crews for the next several weeks. Atlanta received a $2.8 million federal grant in 2019 to fund the survey work. A MARTA overview of the project says transit and trails are part of plans for the BeltLine, a 22-mile loop around the city, which would make use of existing freight rail lines, some of them dormant.

Virginia Railway Express cancels Santa Trains
Virginia Railway Express has cancelled its Santa Trains for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reports VRE has run the trains for 23 years, and that tickets usually sell out in minutes. A VRE spokeswoman told the newspaper that the agency is “exploring options for holiday-themed events at our stations to continue our support for Toys for Tots.”

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