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.”


Signs of pre-existing damage found in Metro derailment

  • Published in Local

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 has history of major problems

metro logoThe latest problems regarding safety on the Metrorail is but the latest in a long line of safety problems that go back decades – some say since the very beginning of the Metrorail system.

Others who’ve worked for Metro say getting repairs or any work done was a “constant battle,” with plenty of blame available to go around as to the cause.

In December 2009, the Tri-State Oversight Committee, Metro’s state-level safety oversight body which FTA later replaced, published a report that detailed an extensive list of workplace safety violations and a lack of a safety culture at WMATA.


Wile E. Coyote and the Metro rider

MC DC Wile E. Coyotes Acme Purchases Better Than Metro in BWThere is little doubt the Metrorail system is in desperate need of repair.
Despite a “Safetrack” plan by Metro to bring Metro “Back 2 Good” and despite all the inhouse ads on Metro touting its increased efforts to fix escalators, tracks, bring new metro rail cars online and clean up the metro stations, the federal government recently outlined more than 100 deficiencies the system still faces.
We at The Sentinel decided it was best since our readers are some of the most frequent Metro riders as they go to and from work, to take a close look at the Metro system.


Two cars separate from one of Metro’s newest trains

  • Published in Local

Metro car separationPassengers had to evacuate when two cars detached from one of Metro's newest 7000 series trains.   PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMIE GARRISON  

Metro is investigating two cars detaching from one of Metro’s new 7000 series trains while carrying passengers on the Red Line just before 9 a.m. Monday.


Debris sets off two Metro Center track fires

  • Published in Local


WASHINGTON – Inspection and communication problems continue to plague Metro this week.

Tracks at Metro Center station caught fire twice over the weekend within three days of American Public Transit Association (APTA) representatives telling management and a board committee that filthy tracks can cause fires.

Metro spokesperson Morgan Dye said there were no injuries or significant damage reported related to the weekend fires. 


Metro Managers Negotiate Rocky Week

  • Published in Local

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ROCKVILLE – Metro riders suffer delays and shuttle bus rides during SafeTrack, experienced the same when a Silver Line train derailed Friday and Metro’s need for maintenance time may cancel post-midnight hours.

The Metro general manager’s repair crews launched the first Red Line SafeTrack Aug. 1 as part of his program to catch up on maintenance, just days after a Silver Line train derailed due to deteriorating rail ties. That led to Wiedefeld hiring a derailment inspector.

Wiedefeld for months asked riders to consider alternative transportation to the Metro so trains and platforms wouldn’t crowd when trains single tracked or stations shut down.

Montgomery County Transportation Director Al Roshdieh requested the same, informing residents about bike routes, arranged free shuttle buses and encouraged commuting on Marc Train or telecommuting.

Metro said Monday rail ridership decreased by between 30 percent and 40 percent and attributed this to riders seeking alternatives.

“Riders heeded the warnings of reduced service and took advantage of travel options,” Metro said. “Metrobus reported ‘steady’ ridership on routes that run along the Red Line, but no overcrowding conditions.”



  • Published in Local

SafeTrack projects on Red Line scheduled to slow down summer commuting

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With the first Red Line SafeTrack project less than a month away, riders have just weeks left to “rethink their commute,” as Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld requested.

According to Wiedefeld, repair works on three Metro Red Line SafeTrack projects will reduce capacity while trains single-track and stations shut down altogether.

That means crowded trains and 15- to 20- minute waits for rides, even during rush hour, he said.

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