Metro bringing back first group of 7000-series trains
Trains have been off track since last October
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced Wednesday that it will return eight 7000-series trains to service on Thursday, months after all 748 railcars were taken off track due to a wheel malfunction that caused a derailment near Arlington National Cemetery.
The return of eight trains — with eight railcars each — to service comes after an intense training period on safety processes for inspectors over the past month, according to WMATA, which runs the Metrorail and Metrobus services. In October 2021, the wheel problem caused a derailment and led to the removal of the 7000-level trains, which make up about 60% of all of Metro’s fleet. Its older 6000-series cars were returned to service to prevent further delays, and as of early March, Metro had 330 railcars in service.
The eight 7000-series trains will initially run on the Yellow Line, which runs from Alexandria up to Fort Totten in Maryland, and the Green Line, which runs from Prince George’s County, Maryland through Greenbelt, Maryland.
According to Metro’s announcement, it is working on second and third phases to return more 7000-series trains to service this summer, which will allow faster service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines by July. The later phases, which include using the Automated Wayside Inspection System (AWIS) equipment as part of Metro’s inspection process, will require approval from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.
Safety incidents have been a source of difficulty for the transit authority over the past few months, with WMSC citing concerns about driver fatigue, and Metro had to remove 72 train operators in May who were out of compliance with safety certifications.
In May, Paul J. Wiedefeld, WMATA’s general manager and CEO, resigned early after announcing his retirement would take place June 30. Randy Clarke, head of Austin, Texas’s transportation system, is set to become Metro’s next general manager.