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Metro Updates Public on First Red Line Surge and Derailment Investigation | News Release | WMATA

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Metro updates public on first Red Line surge, derailment investigation

The first SafeTrack project to affect the Red Line, Surge #6, began as scheduled this morning with continuous single tracking between Takoma and Silver Spring through August 7.

Red Line ridership was down approximately 30-40 percent this morning as riders heeded the warnings of reduced service and took advantage of alternate travel options. Metrobus reported “steady” ridership on routes that run along the Red Line, but no overcrowding conditions.

“Thanks to everyone on the Red Line who adjusted their schedule or their commute to avoid Surge #6,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Now we need everyone to keep this up for the rest of the week.”

Red Line rush-hour capacity is reduced by more than 50 percent as a result of the around-the-clock single tracking, which is allowing workers to replace worn infrastructure including wooden ties, rail, fasteners and third-rail components.

Also today, passenger service resumed on the Orange and Silver lines following a derailment Friday morning. Buses replaced trains throughout the weekend between Ballston and West Falls Church/McLean to allow for the on-scene investigation and repairs. More than 450 rail ties were replaced in the area, which had not yet been addressed under the SafeTrack program.

While the investigation is ongoing, Metro today released the following preliminary findings:

  1. Metro’s safety department has made a preliminary assessment that the causal factor in the derailment is a track condition, specifically a condition where the two rails on which trains run were too wide as a result of deteriorated rail ties.
  2. Other possible contributing causal factors, including car equipment, weather, temperature and other factors remain under review.
  3. At this time there is no evidence of train operator error.

Metro General Manager/CEO Wiedefeld today ordered a special supervisory inspection of all tracks.

“While Metro and the outside experts continue their review, we are requiring supervisors to conduct a specialized track inspection to look for any other similar conditions that must be immediately addressed,” said Wiedefeld.

Metro has taken additional corrective actions, including: pre-inspecting interlockings (NoMa-Gallaudet, Silver Spring & Takoma) used on the Red Line prior to this morning’s implementation of SafeTrack Surge #6; requiring a supervisory pre-inspection of all interlockings that are required to be used to facilitate SafeTrack closures; and quality assurance audits of all these inspections.

News release issued at 2:24 pm, August 1, 2016.

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