Metro News Release

For immediate release: December 30, 2009

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Metro prepares for mix of freezing rain, sleet for New Year's Eve, Day
Metrobus, MetroAccess may be impacted by icy road conditions

Metro is preparing for a light mix of freezing rain and sleet that is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday mornings. Metrobus and MetroAccess service may be impacted by the freezing rain, more so than Metrorail service.

Metrobus and MetroAccess are only as reliable as road conditions allow. Customers may want to take advantage of the next bus prediction technology to get an idea when the next bus will arrive by logging onto Metro’s web site or calling 202-637-7000 and saying “next bus,” then entering the bus stop ID number.

Depending on road conditions, it is possible that some neighborhoods may see buses and paratransit vehicles detour around streets that are icy. MetroAccess passengers with scheduled trips can call 301-562-5360 for a status update on their ride.

Based on the forecast, Metro employees have already started to stage equipment and personnel to prepare for the wintry mix. Ice-fighting equipment and supplies are on hand and being staged throughout the rail system to treat station entrances, parking lots, walkways and station platforms.

Starting at 1 a.m. Thursday, December 31, Metro will have de-icer trains operating on above ground portions of track and will continue to run those trains throughout the night to help keep the electrified third rail free of ice. The third rail must be ice-free to allow the flow of electricity from the electrified rail to the train to keep the train powered.

Metro also is using “heater tape,” which has been installed on sections of track with significant grades/inclines and in critical areas in rail yards. Heater tape is a cable that is clipped onto the electrified third rail and turned on when temperatures dip below freezing. It helps keep the third rail warm enough to prevent ice from forming.

Metro’s 106-miles of track includes 50.5 miles of underground track and 55.5 miles of above ground track.

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Media contact for this news release: Angela Gates or Lisa Farbstein at 202-962-1051.
For all other inquiries, please call customer service at 202-637-7000.

News release issued at 10:50 am, December 30, 2009.


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