More delays on Metro Red Line due to track repairs this weekend and later in July

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro will single-track Red Line trains this weekend to allow for track repairs.

Riders can expect delays to service because of the single-tracking Red Line trains Saturday and Sunday. Workers are scheduled to replace broken pieces of rail, rail fasteners and coverboards for the power-source third rail. Trains will single-track between Grosvenor and Twinbrook stations, also impacting White Flint station.

Starting July 21, buses will replace trains on a separate Red Line segment for 45 days, through Sept. 3. The project requires the continuous shutdown of Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland-CUA stations.

Red Line riders can switch to the Green Line to avoid taking a shuttle bus – changing trains at Fort Totten station and then at Gallery Place-Chinatown station, or vice versa.


Metro numbers stabilize though revenue is down

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metro logoMetro is behind in terms of the money that comes in from Metrorail and Metrobus fares, despite the increased cost of fares, because fewer people are riding the bus.

Metro Board Finance and Budget Committee chairman Michael Goldman, who represents Montgomery County, said the statistics in the report from staff to the committee this week might confuse riders.

“They had projected an increase in rail ridership in 2018 compared to 2017,” Goldman said. “That growth in rail ridership never materialized.”

Metro officials received less revenue from fares, including bus, rail and MetroAccess than expected.

Metrobus ridership is lower than in last fiscal year. “That’s not true for rail,” Goldman said. “Rail is roughly – compared to the same month[s] of 2017 – maybe stable or just down a percentage.”


Metro consultants confirm resident fears regarding noise and vibrations

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metro logoA consulting firm hired by Metro has confirmed local residents’ concerns about Metro’s new 7000 series trains – they are louder than the old ones and may have a tendency to vibrate more, shaking nearby homes.

Consultants from Wilson Ihrig, the firm Metro hired for the study, said in the report posted online March 24 that in all but one residential site tested, vibration from the trains was higher for the 7000 series, than the older ones. The study concluded this by measuring ground-borne vibration in houses a few hundred feet from the track centerline when a train passed by.

The report’s authors said some Metro trains violated the organization’s design criteria by go over the recommend vibrations for nearby homes.


New Metro cars blamed for continuing problems

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metro logoWASHINGTON — A Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration rail technician says the increased power needs of Metro’s 7000-series cars – the system’s newest rail stock – is damaging the system that transmits electric power to trains, resulting in problems – including fires – that can cause delays.

“The fires are caused by these current draws by the 7000s,” Metro Automatic Train Operation technician Jack

Bounthong said in October. “We never had a fire incident before we got the 7000s.”

Bounthong explained how trains made up of 7000-series cars are causing track fires and other damage to the propulsion system that powers the trains. The 7000-series’ increased power needs are also responsible for delays because the increased power use can generate so much heat that sensors located near crossover tracks (where a train can switch from one track to the other) can erroneously sense a non-existent train on the opposite side of the tracks and send incorrect signals to other trains, as well as the Rail Operations Control Center.

“Now you got trains backing up – that’s why you get those delays,” he said, “because signals go in and out – the train will sit at the signal for no apparent reason.”


Metro radio tests not done

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metro logoWASHINGTON — Preliminary findings of the investigation into last week’s Metro derailment show tests of the radio communications system used in the tunnels are not occurring as often as they should because radio shop employees aren’t performing them, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Chairman and General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Thursday. 

 “It was essentially an antenna problem [in the area of the collision],” WMATA Chief Safety Officer Pat Lavin said Thursday, explaining the source of the difficulties in communication between Metro’s rail operations control center and the train operator during the derailment, which occurred at 6:30 a.m. Jan. 15. “Employees adjusted the antenna after the incident.”

Lavin said investigators discovered both the antenna problem and that fact the testing took place less frequently than it should have.


Signs of pre-existing damage found in Metro derailment

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metro logoWASHINGTON, D.C. — Metro Safety Chief Pat Lavin said Thursday the piece of track where the Red Line train derailed Jan. 15 showed signs of pre-existing damage.

Metro officials said the site of derailment was an eight-foot section of fractured rail. Investigators found a crack at the bottom of the broken rail which “appeared to show signs of oxidation.”


Metro mulls refund policy

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metro logoWASHINGTON D.C. — A proposal to refund Metro passengers for late trains during rush hour moved one step closer to becoming a reality last Thursday after a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration committee unanimously approved a plan that would refund passengers for trains that are late by 15 minutes or more during rush hour service. 

The unanimous recommendation by Metro’s Safety and Service Delivery Committee’s during its Jan. 11 meeting brings the plan one step closer to final approval, and needs only the full WMATA board's approval before going into effect, which WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said could happen as early as Jan. 26.

“We know we still need to earn back their confidence,” explained Assistant GM Lynn Bowersox.



  • Published in Local

Metro officials continue to investigate Red Line derailment 

metro logoWASHINGTON — Metro has not yet determined the cause of Monday’s Red Line derailment, but they are pleased with improvements to emergency responses made in the wake of the fatal L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident two years ago, WMATA officials said.

“The final cause has not been determined,” said WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, while noting that a crack or break in the rail may have led to the derailment, which took place at 6:40 a.m. outside Farragut North station on Monday. Metro is also considering whether human error was a contributing factor, he said.


Metro still having trouble with “Back2Good”

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Metro officials said in a November report the yearlong SafeTrack program did not meet goals for some of the projects as management had claimed; more service disruptions will be caused by single-tracking and shutdowns for additional repairs. 

Quality assurance internal compliance and oversight (QICO) officials at Metro said several of the projects from the year of SafeTrack’s multi-day, single-tracking- and shutdown-related projects either left some problems unresolved or had fresh problems develop after the SafeTrack program ended. Some problems led to service disruptions such as speed restrictions. 

Metro officials determined Metro has problems in planning, defining scope of capital projects such as SafeTrack and ensuring that work consistently meets the requirements for inspection and data recording from inspections. Also included in the report are corrective action plans for each of the problems found in the investigation.

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