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Nine people were killed on Metro a decade ago this weekend. The system to blame still doesn't work.

A year and a half ago, Metro told its board about the benefits of automatic trains-- a smoother ride for passengers and a more efficient flow of trains.

WASHINGTON — Ten years after the crash that stopped the automatic operation of Metro trains, the transit agency says it is still years from being turned on again.

An NTSB investigation partially blamed a malfunction in Automatic Train Operation for the June 22, 2009 crash near Fort Totten. The system’s series of track circuits that regulate train speed and separation malfunctioned, keeping one train speeding toward another that was stopped. The train operator applied emergency braking, but it was too late. Nine people were killed.

A 10-year remembrance ceremony will be held Saturday. Family members will be joined by Metro officials, who hope to restart Automatic Train Operation. But Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said the system will stay disabled “for a couple years as we focus on safety and reliability matters.”

A year and a half ago, Metro told its board about the benefits of automatic trains-- a smoother ride for passengers and a more efficient flow of trains. Metro insists necessary changes have been made and operators can switch into manual mode at any time.

Three years ago, Metro watchdogs called a return to automatic operations.

“I’d love to see Metro bring back Automatic Train Control as soon as they’re able to fix some of the more immediate, urgent safety issues,” said David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington.

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