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‘I Got Lucky That Day’

Passenger talks of his experience surviving the 2009 Metrorail crash 

PatrickTuite 1Patrick Tuite.   PHOTO COURTESY OF CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY  On really hot days, we might call air conditioning a “lifesaver.” On June 22, 2009, some good air conditioning on a Metro platform actually helped to save Patrick Tuite’s life.

Tuite was a survivor of the horrific Metrorail crash that day that took nine lives, on a Red Line train going from the Takoma to the Fort Totten station. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the accident occurred because a warning system, intended to alert Metrorail operators of stationary trains on the tracks ahead, was not functioning.

Tuite, now 50, was on his way to teach a summer-school night class at Catholic University of America. He was, and still is, a professor at the university’s theater department.

Until the accident, Tuite said he almost always rode near the front of the front car of Metro. “I thought it was safer to sit near the operator,” he explained. “It was also nice to look out the front window with my kids.”

All nine people killed in the crash are believed to have been toward the front of the front car. The front car survivors were toward the rear at the moment of the crash. 

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Metro contemplates closing early

  • Published in Local

Metro folo -Fort Totten 11-22-16- courtesyBack ups at Fort Totten Metro station. COURTESY PHOTO  

After hosting a public hearing and analyzing survey responses, Metro staffers said Monday they recommend Metro close at 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, half an hour earlier than its current closing time of midnight.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Metro needs to reduce its hours of service to allow more time for crews to perform maintenance and inspect tracks.

Otherwise, he said Metro will develop another backlog of deferred maintenance.

“We cannot get through (SafeTrack) and then go back to business as normal,” Wiedefeld told the Metro Board of Directors in July.

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