For immediate release: July 26, 2016
To support long-term maintenance strategy, Metro GM to propose closing rail system at 10 p.m. on Sundays and midnight every other night on a permanent basis
Following rail expert and peer transit agency recommendations, Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld plans to propose closing the Metrorail system at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights and continue midnight closures on all other nights beyond the conclusion of the one-year SafeTrack program. The move will require Board approval following a public engagement process this fall.
Under the proposed schedule, the Metrorail system would be open 127 out of 168 hours in a week. Prior to SafeTrack, the system was open 135 hours per week. The additional track time increases safety and reliability by giving workers the time and space they need to keep Metro's infrastructure in a state of good repair.
To inform this recommendation, Wiedefeld engaged peer transit agencies and rail engineering consultants, all of whom urged that the focus on track safety and maintenance continue to prevent Metro from sliding backward.
Earlier this year, Wiedefeld announced a one-year accelerated maintenance plan, called "SafeTrack," which includes expanded track access through midnight closings on weekends (on a temporary basis), a moratorium on early openings or late closings, and expanded track work during midday and evening hours. The plan is intended to achieve three years' worth of work in one year and allow work crews to eliminate a maintenance backlog and address safety recommendations from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Wiedefeld is expected to formally propose the change at Thursday's 11 a.m. Board of Directors' meeting.