Metro News Release

For immediate release: April 16, 2008

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Metro to operate train doors manually to improve performance

Metro train operators have started opening rail car doors manually to improve door performance.

On rare occasions, some train doors open on the wrong side when a train pulls into a station. This has occurred as Metro officials have been working to upgrade power substations and related infrastructure to have enough electricity to operate more and more eight-car trains. The upgrades are causing electromagnetic interference with the system that automatically opens train doors.

The temporary fix is to have train operators open the doors manually instead of automatically. In the long term, an electronic component will need to be installed in each of Metro’s 1,066 rail cars, which will allow the doors to open automatically. Additional improvements to the infrastructure will be implemented. The fixes are expected to be complete by fall 2009.

In the meantime, Metro will continue to make power substation modifications and improve the track infrastructure to accommodate additional eight-car trains. In December 2007, Metro started running 20 percent of its fleet as eight-car trains to meet growing ridership demands.

On average, doors open on Metrorail trains 216,000 times per day. In the past 100 days, the train doors have opened on the side without a platform four times--or only four in about 22 million times that train doors have opened.

“While this problem happens only rarely, it is a safety concern,” explained Metro Rail Chief Dave Kubicek. “This has only happened four times in the last 22 million times that train doors have opened, but even one time is too many.”

Typically train doors open automatically and train operators close the doors manually with the push of a button. Now the operators will have to both open and close the doors with the simple push of a button.

Metro officials will work with the manufacturers of the related systems to install the new components and cover costs associated with the repairs.

News release issued at 3:59 pm, April 16, 2008.


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