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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Regular service returns to the D.C. Metro Red Line

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Service on the Red Line near the Fort Totten Metrorail station has returned to normal after a fatal train collision in June, which resulted in slower Metrorail service along the Red Line in the Washington, D.C., area.

"We hope our customers are seeing an improvement in train movement, and we thank them for their patience," said Metro Deputy General Manager Gerald Francis. 

Red Line trains are no longer traveling at reduced speeds or taking turns moving one at a time between the Fort Totten and Takoma Metrorail stations.


Maintenance program repairs in the Fort Totten Metrorail station area have been implemented, including replacing original track equipment dating back to the 1970s. 

Metro has increased capacity on the Red Line by operating more trains during the morning and afternoon rush hour periods. The number of trains has increased from 38 trains to 44 trains. 

While repairs have been completed near the Fort Totten Metrorail station, Metro officials are continuing to make repairs to track circuits near the Takoma and Silver Spring Metrorail stations, as part of a previously scheduled maintenance program. As a result of this work, trains will share one track between these locations from about 10 p.m. until closing between Sunday and Thursday nights. Customers are not likely to notice a delay because trains operate every 15 to 20 minutes during those times. 

This work is expected to take four to six weeks, and this project is part of a 2006 contract to upgrade track circuits at 22 locations throughout the Metrorail system. 

Metro had been replacing the track circuit in the area of the accident since early August. In order to accelerate the circuit replacement, work was done late at night and the Red Line was closed at Fort Totten Metrorail station for two weekends.

Metro customers may still encounter delays system wide due to scheduled and unscheduled maintenance.

"Metro is an aging system and many components are in need of repair and replacement," said Francis. "In fact, Metro has identified $11 billion in unfunded capital needs over the next decade."

Metro is continuing to run twice-daily computerized tests of all of its track circuits, once after each rush hour, or 14 times per week. Metrorail trains are continuing to be operated manually by train operators and will continue in manual mode until further notice. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation of the June 22 collision and is focusing on track circuit modules located in a train control room. A cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

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