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NTSB releases agenda for hearings into fatal Metro smoke incident

WASHINGTON, DC – FEB. 12, 2015: News photographers view the charred traction power cables from the Jan. 12, 2015 Yellow Line Metro incident on display in Washington, DC on February 12, 2015. Portions of 3rd rail cover board and the electrical system components from Metro’s L’Enfant Plaza tunnel incident were made available by the NTSB. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post)

The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday released a preliminary agenda for two days of hearings it will hold on the fatal Jan. 12 smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza that killed one person and injured scores of others.

The hearings will be held Jun. 23 and 24 and will include four panels that will examine Metro’s infrastructure, emergency response efforts and its organizational culture. In addition, NTSB members will look at the Federal Transportation Administration and Tri-State Oversight Committee’s efforts related to rail safety.

[Alexandria grandmother dies in fatal Metro smoke incident]

Metro has been under intense scrutiny from federal, state and local officials since the fatal incident that raised serious questions about the authority’s leadership and emergency response capabilities. The authority also is facing separate inquires from the Government Accountability Office and FTA, which in March launched a review of Metro’s safety programs for its bus and subway operations.

The NTSB investigation is continuing, but Metro officials have taken several interim steps to improve safety on the system.

Here is the preliminary hearing agenda:

 Day 1: June 23 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Opening Remarks and Introductions (9 to 9:30 a.m)
• Chairman’s Opening Statement
• Introduction of the Technical Panel
• Introduction of the Parties
• Introduction of the Exhibits
• Investigator-in-Charge Opening Presentation

Panel 1: State of WMATA’s Infrastructure
• Technical Panel 1 questions witnesses (9:30 to 10:30 a.m.)
• Break (10:30  to 11 a.m.)
• Parties and Board of Inquiry question witnesses (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

Lunch (12:30 to 2 p.m.)

Panel 2: Emergency Response Efforts
• Technical Panel 2 questions witnesses (2 to 3 p.m.)
• Break (3 to 3:30 p.m.)
• Parties and Board of Inquiry question witnesses (3:30 to 5 p.m.)

Adjourn for Day 1

Day 2: June 24 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Panel 3: WMATA’s Organizational Culture
• Technical Panel 3 questions witnesses (9 to 10 a.m.)
• Break (10 to 10:30 a.m.)
• Parties and Board of Inquiry question witnesses (10:30 a.m. to noon)

Lunch (Noon to 1:30 p.m.)

Panel 4: FTA And Tri-State Oversight Committees Efforts For Public Transportation Safety
• Technical Panel 4 questions witnesses (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.)
• Break (2:30 to 3 p.m.)
• Parties and Board of Inquiry question witnesses (3 to 4:30 p.m.)

Chairman’s Closing Remarks (4:30 to 5 p.m.)

Hearing Adjourned