Metro safety chief to resign

Metro safety chief to resign
© Greg Nash

The top safety official for Washington's Metro subway system will be stepping down from his post next month in the wake of an unprecedented shutdown of the entire rail system in order to conduct emergency inspections. 

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Louis Brown, acting chief safety officer at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, formally resigned Friday morning, and his last day will be April 22, a Metro spokesman confirmed. The decision was his own, the spokesman said.

Brown started in his role last year following the resignation of James Dougherty, who left not long after an empty Metro train derailed near the Smithsonian station in August. NBC News reported at the time that Metro would be searching for a replacement for Dougherty.

Last Wednesday, Metro officials closed the system for more than 24 hours to inspect power cables after a fire near the McPherson Square stop. Another tunnel fire — this time caused by debris — forced the agency to temporarily shut down several stations in Northern Virginia on Friday. 

During a board of directors safety committee meeting on Thursday, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld conceded that “whatever we’re doing isn’t working.”