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More track problems on Red Line bring about more delays

  • Published in Local

metro logoEngineers licensed in D.C. say select issues that the Federal Transit Administration reported on the Red Line this year are reasons for additional study by Metro, but do not threaten the safety of riders. 

A Federal Transit Administration Metro Safety Oversight inspector reported finding track problems on the Red Line that do not meet Metro protocol, according to reports FTA posted July 27.

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Metro continues plan to subway car safety

  • Published in Local

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Metro’s chief safety officer reported to the Federal Transit Administration that the railcar barriers between the new 7000 series railcar will be installed on all 7000-series trains by May 2019.

In 2016, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority made its own determination on how to address the between-car-barrier safety issue. WMATA chose as its remedy to install on the 7000-series cars the chain-barrier system that it uses on its older railcars. Now FTA is requiring that WMATA follow through on its own plan and commitment to install the chain barriers.

In May this year, a woman with vision impairment used her cane to search for the doorway on a train that was a 7000 series, but mistook the space between the railcars for the doorway and fell onto the tracks.

Instead of chains between the railcars, which FTA and Metro call between-car barriers, the 7000 series railcars have rubber panels attached to the ends railcars alternating with the chains. Henrika Buchanan, FTA’s acting associate administrator for the Office of Transit Safety and Oversight, wrote in June the woman’s fall indicated the alternate between-car-barriers are unsafe for riders with vision impairments and ordered their replacement with the chain-like barriers.

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Strike still possible but Metro negotiates

  • Published in Local

ATU Local 689 MetroA Metro union strike continues to be a possibility, with the potential to disrupt the commutes of about one million bus and rail passengers.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter would order a strike only if union leadership are not able to make progress with Metro in discussions, said her executive assistant Barry Hobson Tuesday.

“Our president has not given us a definite [date on] when we might strike, but if the negotiation with the authority have come to a halt, then our membership has already given us authorization through the strike vote,” Hobson said.

Lately, discussions between Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld and Local 689 elected leaders have gone smoothly, union spokesperson David Stephen said Monday.

“The leadership of ATU Local 689 had its third negotiation meeting with designees of WMATA [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority] General Manager Paul Wiedefeld today, and the meeting was productive,” Stephen said.

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Metro’s turn-backs at Grosvenor to end in about five months

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro’s Board of Directors passed a motion Thursday to increase rush hour service at selected Red Line Metro stations, starting in December.

“For ten years, Montgomery County has made it a priority to eliminate the Grosvenor turn-backs,” Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said. “I am gratified that the Metrorail board has acted to provide continuous service on all trains for riders to White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove. We are grateful to WMATA board members Michael Goldman and Kathy Porter as well as Montgomery County Department of Transportation staff for their hard work in this regard.”

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Metro Union edges toward strike

  • Published in Local

ATU Local 689 MetroMembers of one of Metro’s unions voted Sunday on whether they authorize union leadership to call for a strike.

Metro released a statement in response to the strike authorization vote Monday afternoon, which stated, “The Authority does not want customers to suffer from additional service interruptions. Dialogue is ongoing between Management and Union officials to identify common ground on these matters, while keeping Metro safe, reliable and affordable for the region.”

David Stephen, spokesperson for the union Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, said the union voted in favor of authorizing a union strike.

Although members agreed to authorize a strike it does not guarantee they will strike.

On Thursday, Stephen sent reporters a copy of a petition requesting removal of Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld from Metro.

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Metro union votes to authorize strike

  • Published in Local

metro logoMembers of one of Metro’s unions voted Sunday on whether they authorize union leadership to call for a strike.

Metro released a statement in response to the strike authorization vote Monday afternoon, which stated, “The Authority does not want customers to suffer from additional service interruptions. Dialogue is ongoing between Management and Union officials to identify common ground on these matters, while keeping Metro safe, reliable and affordable for the region.”

David Stephen, spokesperson for the union Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, said the union voted in favor of authorizing a union strike.

Although members agreed to authorize a strike it does not guarantee they will strike.

On Thursday, Stephen sent reporters a copy of a petition requesting removal of Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld from Metro.

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Metro Board may increase service at selected Red Line stations

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro’s Board of Directors may approve an increase in rush-hour service on part of the Red Line during its meeting Thursday, a change the board requested three years ago.

If all Red Line trains that would normally start or terminate at Grosvenor-Strathmore Station instead traveled past Grosvenor to Shady Grove, as in the proposed change, that would double the service to Shady Grove and three other stations.

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Two Red Line stations to close for repairs

  • Published in Local

metro logoTwo Red Line stations will shut down over the weekend to reduce the amount of water that enters the tunnels, and therefore reduce risk of fires. 

Medical Center and Bethesda stations will shut down Saturday and Sunday, and free shuttle buses will transport riders between Grosvenor-Strathmore, Medical Center, Bethesda and Friendship Heights stations. Metro suggests riders allow 10 minutes more travel time for each shuttle bus stop on their trips. Metro communications asks riders to tap their SmarTrip cards as they enter and exit stations, and riders will be charged for a continuous trip.

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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.

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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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