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Derailed!

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Metro officials continue to investigate Red Line derailment 

metro logoWASHINGTON — Metro has not yet determined the cause of Monday’s Red Line derailment, but they are pleased with improvements to emergency responses made in the wake of the fatal L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident two years ago, WMATA officials said.

“The final cause has not been determined,” said WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, while noting that a crack or break in the rail may have led to the derailment, which took place at 6:40 a.m. outside Farragut North station on Monday. Metro is also considering whether human error was a contributing factor, he said.

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Select Red Line stations closed so Metro can replace cable before it fails

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WASHINGTON — Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority crews and contractors shut down several Red Line stations the weekend of Dec. 16 and 17 to replace a failing communications cable that posed a serious safety risk.

WMATA Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader said on Thursday that the decision to replace the cable was made after the new general superintendent in charge of Automatic Train Control requested an audit of non-traction power cable inspection records and after Leader recommended to General Manager Paul Wiedefeld that WMATA replace the cable after it was found during an inspection this week to not meet Metro specifications, though inspectors did not determine a reason for the cable’s failure.

“The decision was made on Tuesday not to try and pinpoint where the failure might be or what might be causing the failure… just replace the cable,” Leader said.

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Takoma Station Shut Down

metro logoRed Line riders intending to travel between Glenmont and D.C. must continue to take a shuttle bus or seek alternate means to reach Fort Totten station, while workers continue efforts to replace the Takoma station track crossover.

The replacement project – which started Nov. 25 and is scheduled to continue through Dec. 10 – requires shuttle buses to replace train service between Silver Spring and Takoma stations, and between Takoma and Fort Totten stations.

“It's a 16-day window; hopefully it's not as much of an impact, given the season,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said on Nov. 16.

Additional Red Line stations will close this weekend for further capital projects, including radio cable installation and power cable replacement, Metro officials said. Riders should expect fewer trains and some crowding on the Red Line this weekend. Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen and Silver Spring stations will close Dec. 2 and Dec. 3.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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