Metro Pauses Return of 7000-Series Trains

Metro abruptly paused the return of its 7000-series trains Thursday afternoon, ordering a daily series of wheel inspections instead of the weekly examinations initially approved by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.

The announcement was made at the same time that the Source spotted a 7000-series train arriving at the Silver Spring station. 

“Although there are no new issues of concern, the Chief Safety Officer and Chief Operating Officer met with the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (the independent consultant Metro hired to help with its root cause analysis following the derailment) and Metro officials concluded in an abundance of caution that moving to a nightly inspection of 7000-series railcars is the prudent course of action,” Metro said in a news release.

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 agency announced earlier this month that there would be a phased return of the 748 7000-series railcars, with wheel inspections every 7 days, as approved by the WMSC.

The 7000-series trains make up approximately 60 percent of its railcar fleet, Metro said earlier this month. DCist reported in November that it takes a crew of three people six hours to inspect two 8-car trains.

“While I recognize the pause is unexpected, we are going to continuously evaluate data we are collecting to ensure that we are enhancing safety,” Metro’s General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a statement. “I feel that requiring a daily inspection is the safest course until we know more and our experts have an opportunity to review the data we are collecting with the few trainsets now in operation.”

Metro is currently running reduced service due to the smaller number of railcars available. Red Line trains will operate approximately every 12 minutes with 6-car trains, every 20 minutes on the Green and Yellow Lines, and every 24 minutes on the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines.

Photo: © Evgenia Parajanian/Adobe Stock

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