Metro yesterday announced that following approval from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC), the agency will begin restoring its 7000-series trains back to service.
Metro said it would reintroduce the train cars gradually, with up to 336 of its 748 7000-series train cars, which will provide an additional 42 trains in service. No definitive timetable is set, however, some train cars will be in service before the new year, Metro said.
“From now until after the first of the year, customers may see some 7000-series railcars transition safely back to service,” said Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld in a press release. “This is part of the process that will enable Metro to announce a more definitive service plan after the first of the year. Until that time, the transition of the 7000-series railcars through the end of the year will allow us to improve reliability.”
The 7000-series trains will be gradually reintroduced after more rigorous inspections, allowing Metro to prepare the 7000-series railcars in storage and train rail maintenance workers on the new inspection procedures. Metro said it would inspect trains every seven days to meet WMSC requirements to check and rotate railcars safely into passenger service. Previously, the 7000-series fleet underwent inspections every 90 days.
Metro pulled its entire 7000-series fleet from service in October to inspect its wheel assembly in connection with a train derailment on the Blue Line. The 7000-series trains make up approximately 60 percent of its railcar fleet, Metro said.
DCist reported yesterday that train service could return to more normal service by April if everything goes to plan.
“Metro developed the plan following extensive testing and data analysis, using two 7000-series trains weighted to simulate passenger service, to determine the appropriate inspection intervals to safely return the 7000-series cars to service,” Metro said in a statement. “Data from those trains will be gathered over a 90-day period as required by WMSC, including a full analysis before the remaining fleet can be restored.”
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