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Metro taking leaks seriously on Red Line

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro is testing a way to waterproof a group of Red Line stations, but the pilot requires single-tracking on weeknights and station shutdowns on weekends for the next four weeks.

Metro spokesperson Richard Jordan said Metro awarded the waterproofing contract for $4.9 million.

Red Line riders will continue to see single-tracking, which began June 10, Monday through Friday after 9 p.m. for the next three weeks, as well as four consecutive weekend shutdowns starting Saturday so that Metro and its unnamed contractor can make progress on installing the waterproofing.

Metro Board of Directors member Michael Goldman, who represents Montgomery County, said Wiedefeld briefed him prior to announcing the pilot. The pilot was under Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s discretion so he didn’t consult the Board for approval.

“As he presented it, we have a major problem there which was a cause of major outages,” Goldman said matter-of-factly. “It’s caused a hell of a lot of delays on the Red Line.”

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Metro GM addresses Council concerns

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Council members wonder about Red Line delays, Metro contractor use and "dedicated funding"

Metro repairs 2Passengers await the next train on the Red Line at Bethesda Metro station during SafeTrack last year.   FILE PHOTO  ROCKVILLE -- Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld answered questions from the Montgomery County Council about Red Line service, use of contractors and financial contributions from the jurisdictions on which Metro would be able to sell debt.

County Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) asked when Metro will fix the Red Line in terms of water leaking into stations such as Medical Center and Bethesda. County Council member Tom Hucker (D-5) said some of his constituents have asked why delays occur on the Red Line for problems such as electrical arcing, which can cause smoke, though Metro finished its year-long repair program SafeTrack a few days before.

Red Line service delays occurred during the Friday morning rush hour service.  Metro attributed it to two arcing insulators, which hold the power source third rail above the ground.

Hucker asked Wiedefeld what he would say to riders.

Wiedefeld said track repairs and projects during SafeTrack were different from problems that cause arcing insulators.

“The Red Line is totally different than SafeTrack,” Wiedefeld said.

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Metro finally finishes SafeTrack on Red Line

  • Published in Local

metro logoROCKVILLE – The project manager of SafeTrack, Metro’s year-long program of repairing the aging rail system, said the program has fixed the worst parts of the system but Metro has more work to do.

Laura Mason, SafeTrack project manager, used a comparison from Board Chairman D.C. Council member Jack Evans and described the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to a sick patient.

“I think we’ve stabilized the system, so I think how our chairman of the board (Evans) has put it is, the patient was very, very sick,” Mason said at Rockville Station June 21. “We’ve done surgery – we’ve repaired sections, we still have a long ways to go. We still need to do physical therapy, we need to eat well, and maintain our health, so we’ve taken care of the worst sixteen areas.”

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Metro and PEPCO point fingers at each other

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Hundreds of Blue, Orange and Silver line Metro riders suffered delays of 20 to 40 minutes during morning rush hour May 31 due to a power problem, but Metro and Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) officials disagree on the cause.

Rider Dylan Echter said he was planning to be early for a meeting that day, but when he arrived at the entrance to Eastern Market Station, he ended up waiting a total of 25 minutes for a train in near-darkness.

“Light (was) coming from down the stairs, and there was some light coming from the trains,” said Echter, a D.C. resident. “When I walked down, there was really only light from the train.”

Metro spokesperson Richard Jordan said Thursday the delays resulted from a PEPCO problem.

However PEPCO spokesperson Eric Winkfield disagreed and said PEPCO never sent crews to the site of the power problem. He also said Metro told PEPCO operations that the problem was on Metro’s end.

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Single-tracking on Metro Red Line this weekend to test for electrical problems

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro will begin single-tracking Red Line trains and reducing service this weekend, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, so its contractor can test for electrical problems on its rails, Metro spokesperson Ron Holzer said.

"I have said consistently that when we identify problems, we are going to address them head-on," said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. "We now have a pattern of electrical issues all in the same area, and we are going to act to resolve the issue and improve service for our customers."

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Metro safety chief says aging rail fastener led to smoke on Red Line

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WASHINGTON – The Metro chief safety officer at a Board Safety Committee Meeting said smoke incidents near Gallery Place and Metro Center stations in the last two weeks resulted from rail fasteners that are wearing out.

Metro Chief Safety Officer Pat Lavin said a stray electric current arced off a rail fastener, causing smoke near Metro Center Station Thursday morning. Lavin said the arcing occurred because the rubber coating of the aging rail fasteners was wearing thin, exposing the metal of the fastener to the stray current.

“What we’re finding is that the fasteners used at that location are basically starting to get to the end of their useful life,” Lavin said.

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Metro Examines Fasteners

  • Published in Local

Vibrations on the Green Line and possible ties to derailments explored in subway

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WASHINGTON – Metro’s chief safety officer, Pat Lavin, said Tuesday Metro is investigating a possible connection between Metro rail fasteners and shaking houses located above the Green Line.

Inspectors say some of the fasteners may have been less than a day old when discovered broken.

“I wouldn’t say the rail clips are defective,” Lavin said. “If there’s an issue with a certain clip or a certain batch, those would be explored.”

Residents of D.C. neighborhood Petworth, located above the Green Line, complained to Metro executives last year they believe trains are causing their houses to shake and to vibrate, Metro said.

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Smoldering tracks lead to Metro change for second time in a week

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metro logoMetro single-tracked Red Line trains during rush hour Tuesday due to an arcing stud bolt, eight days after a similar event caused Metro to close two stations on the Washington Nationals’ opening day.

Metro spokesperson Ron Holzer said Metro single-tracked trains between Farragut North and Judicary Square stations Tuesday due to a “smoldering stud bolt” at Gallery Place station, which caused some smoke.

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel dispatched to Gallery Place station due to reports of something smoldering on the tracks, Vito Maggiolo said. It turned out to be a stud bolt.

“The initial report of our incident commander was some kind of smoldering debris, but a bolt could fall into that category,” Maggiolo said Wednesday.

Metro later said the incident was an arcing stud bolt.

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