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Metro faces problems caused by Virginia funding law

  • Published in Local

WMATA metro logoMontgomery County Executive Ike Leggett says he doesn’t agree with a Virginia law that seeks to limit input from Metro alternate board members. 

Tom Bulger, an alternate Metro board member agrees with Leggett. 

Virginia’s dedicated funding bill passed in the state legislature earlier this year prohibits alternate board members from giving input in committee meetings or participating in executive sessions.

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Metro suspends service along Red Line section for repairs

  • Published in Local

metro logoWashington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials suspended service between Red Line Metro stations Gallery Place and Farragut North on Thursday morning due to electrical arcing on the support, or insulator, of the power source third rail, a spokesperson said.

“It was an arcing insulator outside Farragut North,” WMATA Spokesperson Sherri Ly wrote. “The defective insulator was removed and service restored."

Metro suspended service along that section of the Red Line for 30 minutes. Employees had to remove the faulty part before trains could resume service between the stations, Ly said.

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Metro may reduce rail service through fiscal 2019

  • Published in Local

WMATA metro logoWASHINGTON — A Metro Board committee voted to adopt a resolution to continue the schedule of reduced, post-SafeTrack hours of service through fiscal year 2019. 

The Board Safety and Service Delivery Committee voted unanimously at Metro Headquarters Thursday to approve renewing the schedule of rail service in anticipation of year two of the preventive maintenance plan, as scheduled. The plan involves several actions, including inspecting cables and testing rails for a power problem called “stray current,” which contributed to smoke incidents in 2016. Another practice is torqueing, which includes tightening bolts of rail fasteners.

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Metro begins weekend shutdown of Red Line segment in May

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro’s Red Line is bringing back weekend shutdowns.

Buses will replace trains starting the weekend of May 12 between Red Line stations Van Ness and Dupont Circle stations, shutting down the Cleveland Park and Woodley Park stations, and continue for the next two weekends to allow for track work. Trains will operate every 10 minutes up until 9 p.m., when they will operate every 15 minutes.

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Metro numbers stabilize though revenue is down

  • Published in Local

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.”

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"Go Big or Go Home!"

  • Published in State

Hogan and Leggett pull out the stops to help Metro and entice Amazon to the county

On a stage normally reserved for large orchestras, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed two bills that could have a major impact on Montgomery County.

One bill Hogan signed gave Metro a dedicated source of funding for the first time. The other bill Hogan signed was a tax incentive package to help bring Amazon’s second headquarters to the White Flint area.

Instead of musicians filling the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, local and state officials from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., were on hand to witness the bills get signed into law.

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Metro consultants confirm resident fears regarding noise and vibrations

  • Published in Local

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.

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New Metro cars blamed for continuing problems

  • Published in Local

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.”

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Maryland considers dedicated Metro funding

  • Published in Local

Maryland Flag Metro LogoANNAPOLIS — A delegation for business people and elected officials made their way to the state capital Tuesday to make their case that Metro, the region’s struggling mass transit system, needs a reliable supply of state dollars.

On Tuesday, the Maryland House of Delegates Appropriations Committee held a public hearing for a bill that would give the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority $125 million in dedicated funding. WMATA has requested this type of funding for some time from the three jurisdictions of D.C., Maryland and Virginia, as it is one of the few mass transit systems in America without a source of dedicated funding or a consistent permanent supply of public money.

Council member Roger Berliner (D-1), who served on the Council of Governments, a regional body of elected officials from D.C., Maryland and Virginia that work on regional issues, said no issue has united people more than the need for a dedicated funding source for Metro.

“I’ve had the privilege of serving on the board of the Council of Governments for many years and last year as chair,” Berliner said. “In all of those years, no issue has united our entire region, Republicans and Democrats, urban and suburban, more than the need to finally provide dedicated funding for Metro.”

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