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Metro: Some operators disabled emergency intercoms

WASHINGTON — Metro says some rail operators have been disabling emergency intercoms on trains.

Metro has said that it has known about intercom problems since 2009, but didn’t address them. General Manager Richard Sarles said Thursday that at the time, Metro was dealing with National Transportation Safety Board recommendations in the wake of the Fort Totten crash that killed nine people.

The issue came to light in June when riders were unable to reach an operator after a fight broke out on a train.

Metro says operators were turning off the safety devices because interference from new digital radio systems for contacting emergency personnel caused noisy false alarms. Metro has halted installation of the new radios until a new fix is found and told operators not to jam the intercoms.