WASHINGTON – Cold weather was the hot topic of conversation at the WMATA board meeting Thursday, but beyond responding to the cracked line that delayed commuters that morning, Metro representatives acknowledged ongoing problems on the Orange line.
The weather has caused myriad problems along the Orange line specifically, something Metro General Manager Richard Sarles noted.
“It’s not something obvious. And that’s what our engineers and maintenance people are trying to get to the bottom of because it’s not one type of car, it wasn’t one single type of failure. So they’re trying to get their arms around it,” he says.
Near Clarendon on Wednesday, Metro confirms a number of trains went through track inspections, likely due to the cold.
“We were trying to find a cause. A number of the trains that we saw having problems — but not all trains — were on the Orange line. So, we were out there looking on the track to see if there was something on the track that was causing the issue. We did not find that to be the cause,” Sarles says.
As the cold weather continues, Sarles says he can’t guarantee there will not be future problems. But, he stressed how well maintenance crews are responding when there is an issue.
Repair crews were on the scene shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday when they learned of a 39-foot line crack near National Airport, he says. The break left trains single-tracking from Braddock Road to the airport station and caused delays on the Blue/Yellow lines for commuters.
Blue/Yellow Lines: Trains single tracking btwn Braddock Rd & National Airport due to a broken rail. Expect 20- 30 min delays during AM rush.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) January 23, 2014
When expecting problems in the colder temperatures, Sarles says, preparing isn’t a matter of increasing staffing.
“We have people out there. They are deployed so they can react as quickly as they can. When we have an issue, we deploy our police officers to help with crowd control,” Sarles says.
But just like extra issues that pop up when driving on the roads in this weather, he says, the train system is not immune to the temperatures.
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