WMATA unveils groundbreaking rail simulator

Posted on May 11, 2006

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) teamed with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and ENSCO Inc. to unveil the nation's first emergency evacuation simulator designed to help train first responders in emergency situations.

The simulator is a commuter car created to rotate up to 180 degrees in 10-degree increments. A full rotation of the unit, which weighs 80,000 pounds and is 85 feet long, takes about two and a half minutes.

The FRA and WMATA began working on the simulator in 2003. Shortly thereafter, New Jersey Transit donated a railcar and ENSCO began working on the technology, which was completed in 18 months.

The simulator will remain at WMATA’s Carmen E. Turner Maintenance and Training Facility in Landover, Md., a $50 million, 16-acre warehouse that trains rescuers and rail professionals from all over the world on disaster response, security and terrorism prevention.

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