WASHINGTON (AP) — Metro says it has completed installation of a key rail safety enhancement recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The transit agency announced Tuesday that it has completed the installation of its 178th mainline guarded rail switch on the Metrorail system. The guards allow trains to move between tracks more safely, reducing the risk of derailment.

Federal officials recommended the guarded switches after a 2007 derailment at Mount Vernon Square. Over the past five years, Metro has installed guards across the transit system.

The project cost $57 million. It was funded by the federal government and Metro’s local jurisdictions.

Installing the switches requires tracks to be shut down, usually over a three-day weekend. Trains have to be replaced with shuttle buses while the track work is completed.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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