Scheduled service reduction on Red Line Metro to target leaking problem

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Metro’s unnamed contractor will continue to perform work to reduce a prime source of delays on the Red Line Saturday and Sunday, requiring single-tracking and reduced service.

Metro officials said in a news release Red Line trains are scheduled to operate every 15 minutes and will single-track between Grosvenor and Medical Center stations Saturday and Sunday so the contractor can test a form of grouting to prevent leaks in underground tunnels.


Weekend shutdowns return to Red Line segment next month

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WMATA metro logoWASHINGTON – Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Thursday Metro officials chose to continue a program that tests a method to stop leaks along a segment of the Red Line, a problem with a history of causing delays in service.  

Track work, including installation of “curtain grouting” in the tunnels, will lead to disrupted service for Red Line riders five weekends in a row, starting mid-October, Metro officials said Thursday in a news release.

Track work will affect weeknight service as well, as trains will single-track between Medical Center and Grosvenor stations on weekdays starting Oct. 16 at 9 p.m.


Remembering the early days of Metrorail

201002 metro19761215Metrorail map from Dec. 15, 1976. COURTESY PHOTO  “What took you so long?”

That was part of my reaction to Metrorail when I started using it regularly in 1977. I grew up on Long Island, and often visited New York City, where I took the subway all around Manhattan and to summer jobs. So with my New York background, it felt funny to be in a major city with no subway when I moved to DC in 1969.

Metrorail opened on March 27, 1976, with just five Red Line stations: Farragut North, Metro Center, Judiciary Square, Union Station and Rhode Island Avenue. Gallery Place opened in December 1976. (NoMaGallaudet did not open until 2004.)

When the Dupont Circle station opened on Jan. 17, 1977, I became a regular Metro commuter. I lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, and worked at the D.C. Council as a legislative aide for John A. Wilson, after whom the District’s city hall, the Wilson Building, is named.


Shutdown of four Red Line Metro stations Labor Day weekend

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Trains to follow Sunday schedule on Labor Day

metro logoMetro riders must board shuttles on part of the Red Line through Monday to allow for the continuation of a waterproofing pilot program to reduce leaks in tunnels and for maintenance work, spokesperson Ron Holzer said.

Holzer said the shutdown is scheduled for Sept. 2 through 4 and Sept. 9 and Sept. 10.

Buses replace trains between Twinbrook and Friendship Heights stations through closing Monday, officials said in a news release. White Flint, Grosvenor-Strathmore, Medical Center and Bethesda stations will be closed through Monday.


Metro Transit Police arrest suspect in Red Line shooting

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jermaine brown 1Metro Transit Police arrested Jermaine Brown, 18, in connection with a shooting incident on a Red Line train near Takoma station. COURTESY PHOTO Metro Transit Police arrested Jermaine Brown, 18, of Seat Pleasant on Sunday in connection with a shooting that occurred on the  Red Line  near Takoma Metro Station the same day.

The shooting occurred aboard a Red Line train before the train crossed the D.C. border to reach Takoma Metro Station around 3 p.m., Metro officials said. The victim, Brown’s 14-year-old half-brother, suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen. A Metro Transit Police officer at Takoma rendered first aid to the victim, who was transported to a local hospital and remained in stable condition as of Monday morning.


Metro taking leaks seriously on Red Line

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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.”


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.


Metro finally finishes SafeTrack on Red Line

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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.”


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

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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."


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

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metro logo

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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