Metrorail in Washington, D.C. will continue with significantly reduced service next week.
On Tuesday, Oct. 19, RT&S reported on the derailment of a Metro train on the agency’s Blue Line. All 7000-series cars were pulled from service, presenting a challenge to maintain at least some level of operation. Today, Metro announced that the 7000-series cars will remain out of service at least through the end of October.
Metro continues working to finalize plans in cooperation with safety officials to return the 7000-series railcars to passenger service and fully restore its rail system. As a result, Metrorail service will remain at the current reduced service levels through at least October 31, 2021.
During this time, trains will operate basic service every 15-20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30-40 minutes on all other lines. Silver Line service will continue to operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Federal Center SW only. Customers are encouraged, where it makes sense for them, to use Metrobus service as an alternative.
“We understand it has been a difficult week for people who depend on Metro in the region, and acknowledge the challenges our customers are experiencing,” said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. “We are working as quickly and safely as possible to inspect every wheel on the 7000-series railcars and it’s important to get that right.”
To help alleviate the railcar shortage caused by the absence of all 748 railcars in the 7000-series fleet, Metro is making every effort to put additional trains into service, including some 2000-series railcars from storage, and 6000-series railcars which are undergoing maintenance repairs.
Metro is working with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission and 7000-series railcar manufacturer, Kawasaki, to complete the inspection process. To date, all but about 100 cars in the 7000-series fleet have been inspected.
In order to safely return the 7000-series railcars to service, Metro is developing new plans and processes for inspections, which include evaluating the inspection frequency using new data to determine how often to check wheel alignment. The 7000-series railcars had been inspected based on industry standard every 90-days.
Once railcars are ready to return to service, additional logistics need to be addressed to ensure railcars and equipment are allocated across the system. This requires redistributing the railcars to Metro’s rail yards and taking into consideration new inspection schedules as part of routine passenger service.
Due to the reduction in service, customers may experience full railcars, buses and stations. Metro has improved air filtration on railcars, buses, stations and other Metro facilities. Metrorail cars recycle the air approximately every three minutes. As a reminder face masks continue to be required throughout the system.
Customers are encouraged to use Metro’s trip planning tools for schedule information. Metro’s Trip Planner is updated with the current schedule information and Metro’s Live Train Map provides real-time information on where trains are throughout the system allowing customers to better prepare for their commute.
Metro does not yet have an estimate of when full service will be restored. Information on service and updates will be communicated to customers through MetroAlerts text or email messages, on Twitter @MetrorailInfo and through the Status and Alerts page at wmata.com.
Additional information is also available in the Metrorail Service and Derailment Investigation Update.