For immediate release: June 1, 2017

Metro prepares for life after SafeTrack – including resumption of normal rush-hour commutes – through more robust preventive maintenance and capital program

As the yearlong SafeTrack program winds down, Metro is preparing for a new era of less disruptive preventive maintenance and planned capital work to ensure that the rail system remains in a reliable state for years to come. 

“SafeTrack was the most aggressive track renewal program in Metro’s history, and it achieved its primary goals – but it all came with the cost of great inconvenience to our riders,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Now, like every other mature transit system, we must do everything in our power to prevent another SafeTrack through a healthy program of preventive maintenance combined with planned capital projects.”

While achieving three years’ worth of work in a single year and greatly improving the safety of Metro’s track infrastructure, SafeTrack had a major disruptive effect on rush-hour commutes for the past year. When SafeTrack ends on June 25, Metro will transition to a new program of preventive maintenance and planned capital work to ensure the system does not require another emergency program of the scope or scale of SafeTrack. To achieve this, Metro hours will be adjusted to allow longer maintenance windows overnight. Beginning June 25, Metrorail service hours will be:

  • Monday-Thursday 5:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
  • Friday 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
  • Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
  • Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Metro will use the additional hours for enhanced preventive maintenance including cable testing to prevent smoke and fire incidents, stray current testing, trackbed cleaning, switch maintenance, torqueing (tightening fasteners, joint nuts and bolts) to eliminate excessive strain on infrastructure, and track geometry work to ensure the correct rail alignment. 

Once SafeTrack ends, Metro customers will enjoy normal rush-hour service with only a handful of exceptions for major capital projects that cannot be accomplished effectively during overnight or weekend work windows. Specifically, the overwhelming majority of Metro’s 91 rail stations will have normal rush hour service for the entire year – rush-hour service will be normal 99 percent of the time. However, Metro is planning three (3) capital projects in the next year that will affect a handful of stations for 10 commuting days each. The three projects have been scheduled during times of the year when ridership is lowest.

Summer Project: Rebuild interlocking and grout pads outside Branch Avenue

  • August 5-20, 2017 (10 commuting days)
  • Branch Avenue and Suitland stations will be closed
  • Green Line service will operate normally from Naylor Road to Greenbelt
  • Overall, 89 out of 91 Metro stations will have normal rush hour service

Fall Project: Rebuild interlocking outside Takoma Station

  • November 25-December 10, 2017 (10 commuting days)
  • Takoma Station will be closed
  • During rush hours, Red Line service will run every 8 minutes between Glenmont & Silver Spring, every 8 minutes between Shady Grove & Fort Totten, and every 4 minutes between Grosvenor & NoMa-Gallaudet
  • Service on the Orange, Blue, Silver, Green, and Yellow lines will be unaffected 

Spring Project: Rebuild interlocking and grout pads outside Huntington

  • May 12-27, 2018 (10 commuting days)
  • Huntington and Eisenhower Avenue stations will be closed
  • Yellow Line service will operate at regular rush-hour intervals between Franconia-Springfield and Mt Vernon Square
  • Overall, 89 out of 91 Metro stations will have normal rush hour service

Metro will continue to conduct maintenance work on weekends and during late evening hours. 

Additional details regarding Metro’s preventive maintenance program will be presented to the Metro Board of Directors at their scheduled meeting Thursday, June 8.