Metro has withdrawn its request for additional trains on Independence Day
The agency, which is suffering from a shortage of trains due to the suspension of almost 60% of its railcar fleet due to a safety defect, said on Tuesday it was able to add trains. of older models to handle crowds without tapping into its standard 7000-cars – an option he had weighed to reduce clutter.
“We have considered a number of options for 4th of July service and have decided to focus our energy on bringing more of the existing fleet into service,” Metro spokeswoman Kristie said. Swink Benson, in a statement. “We are satisfied with the service we have provided to our customers.”
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The fireworks display hosted by the National Park Service on the Mall is an annual tradition that attracts thousands of tourists and local residents. Monday’s celebration was the first time the event featured musical performances and large crowds during the pandemic era, but it came as Metro enters its ninth month of train shortages stemming from a safety issue plaguing its new train and carriage models.
The agency owns 748 of the cars, which Metro is slowly trying to return as part of a proposal to its regulator that pledges to perform daily wheel inspections. The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, an independent agency created by Congress to oversee subway safety, has approved a plan that allows the agency to bring back 64 cars – enough for eight trains – which subway workers manually inspect while passengers Transportation engineers are working on an automated system to bring more cars into service.
Railcar suspension began in October after a federal derailment investigation found a defect in the 7000 series railcars that pushes the wheels outward, creating a risk of derailment. The defect, which has been found nearly 50 times since 2017, is slowly progressing and can be detected before it becomes a risk.
None of the cars Metro has put back on the line since daily inspections began on June 16 have failed wheel inspections, according to transit officials. The pandemic has limited demand on Metrorail, but the fireworks celebration was expected to be one of the biggest tests of the transit system during its train shortage.
In preparation, transit officials have sent a draft proposal asking the Safety Commission if it can make more 7000-series trains eligible for use on Independence Day to help transport spectators who were to flood the mall. Tiffany Minor, spokeswoman for the safety commission, said her office received the draft on June 22.
Suspended metro trains will return Thursday amid eight-month shortage
“We haven’t reviewed it,” Minor said. “We couldn’t issue a response or anything because they took it down.”
She noted that the safety commission’s order suspending the cars requires the transit agency to obtain approval to change the return to service plan at least 14 days in advance. The Metro project arrived two days before this requirement. Minor said she didn’t know if that was the reason for the withdrawal.
Swink Benson acknowledged there were long waits at the Smithsonian station, but said Metro brought a large number of people home after the event. The transit system said 253,000 riders rode the subway on Monday — more than most recent weeks, but significantly fewer than before the pandemic.
“It was a pleasure for us to help you navigate safely throughout the region,” Metro told customers in a tweet.
The transit system had 72 trains running on Monday, including all eight of its eligible 7000 series trains – far more than the 50 to 60 trains it worked on typical days.
Metro had warned passengers days in advance that waits for trains could be longer than an hour on July 4, and Swink Benson said she believed the public got the message. At the height of demand on Monday, Metro tweeted that passengers waiting at the Smithsonian station were being measured to avoid overcrowding inside, urging passengers to walk to nearest stations for short waits.
On social media, where criticism of Metro is common, relatively few complaints about Monday night service could be found.
The journey after the fireworks is underway.
Smithsonian 🔵🟠⚪️ is currently measured for overcrowding; about a 60-75 minute wait to get into the station.
Please walk to L’Enfant or Federal Triangle to enter the Metrorail system with little to no waiting. #wmata
— Metrorail info (@Metrorailinfo) July 5, 2022