For immediate release: December 14, 2021
Metro to begin to restore 7000-series trains to serviceMetro today announced that it has reached another step in the process to restore the 7000-series railcars to service. The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) has informed Metro that it has no technical objections to the final plan submitted to gradually return nearly half of the 7000-series railcars to passenger service with the metered release of no more than 336 railcars. This will provide an additional 42 trains for more frequent, reliable service. Metro will pause for 90 days without further release of additional cars until all aspects of the new inspection cycles are fully established and any needed adjustments are made under WMSC oversight.
“From now until after the first of the year, customers may see some 7000- series railcars transition safely back to service,” said GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “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 inspections, allowing time for Metro to prepare the 7000-series railcars that have been in storage and to train rail maintenance workers on the new inspection procedures. Trains will be inspected every seven days to meet WMSC requirements to inspect and rotate railcars safely into passenger service. Previously the 7000-series fleet underwent inspections every 90 days.
Metro pulled all 748 of its 7000-series railcars from service in October to inspect the fleet’s wheel assembly in connection with the Blue Line train derailment investigation. The 7000-series trains make up approximately 60 percent of Metro’s railcar fleet.
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. 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.