Metro to keep reduced service levels through end of year
Much of Metro fleet is still sidelined after October derailment
Metro customers will see reduced rail service through the end of the year, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced Monday.
The transit system authority attributed the disruption to its 7000-series fleet, the newest rail cars, still being out of service. These trains make up much of Metro’s fleet but have been sidelined since October.
Metro faced its biggest crisis in six years after the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission ordered it to suspend all 748 of its 7000-series rail cars on Oct. 17 following the derailment of a Blue Line train. The suspension has removed about 60% of Metro’s cars from service and the WMATA had to bring out of storage about 40 rail cars, some nearly 40 years. Initially, officials thought the new 7000-series cars would be back in service within weeks. Metro submitted a testing plan to its oversight agency that would check rail cars every eight days for a wheel defect that has afflicted several of the newer cars over the past four years, The Washington Post reported.
“Engineers, safety and operations teams are preparing return to service and mobilization plans to reposition more than 748, 7000-series railcars,” WMATA wrote in a news release. “The railcars that have been in storage will need to be prepared for service and inspected more frequently once they are back in passenger service.”
Nearly 75% of Metro stations have trains arriving at least every 10 to 12 minutes. More frequent service will depend on available railcars meeting safety standards.