Metro repairs at Stadium-Armory take a step forward

WASHINGTON — Silver, Orange and Blue Line trains will move closer to normal rush-hour service next week, as Metro says an initial round of repairs following a transformer fire near Stadium-Armory have been completed.

Metro says service reductions put in place after the Sept. 21 fire will continue for a few more weeks, but speed restrictions will be lifted and all trains will stop at the Stadium-Armory Station now that power has been boosted from the neighboring Potomac Avenue substation.

Orange and Silver line trains have been skipping the Stadium-Armory Station during the morning and afternoon rush hours since the transformer fire. But because only one train could safely travel through the area at a time, many trains had to stop, with riders on board, for several minutes or more and wait before continuing along the underpowered stretch of track.

Speed restrictions will be lifted Saturday, but riders will likely notice more significant changes on Monday when the skip-stop changes are lifted and many of the significant delays tied to the issue are expected to ease.

Trains will be able to go up to 45 mph through the area instead of the current 15 mph limit.

Metro hopes to have two of the three transformers at the Stadium-Armory substation repaired by the end of the month. If testing goes as planned, that would allow Metro to increase the number of trains on the Orange and Silver lines back to typical rush-hour levels.

Andy Off, Metro’s assistant general manager for transit infrastructure and engineering services, hopes that normal rush-hour service will resume by the end of the year.

He says a few internal parts of two transformers had to be replaced. They are now in “excellent” condition.

The third transformer, which caught on fire, is not expected to be replaced for at least a year. The damaged transformer will be removed before the substation is re-energized.

Off says Metro still does not know what caused the fire, and may never know.

But he says other similar power setups in the Metro system have not experienced any similar problems. .He says it could be “some sort of bizarre short-type event that most likely will not be replicated.”

The work to boost the Potomac Avenue substation had been started before the fire as part of power upgrades already underway. That work advanced more quickly than planned following the Stadium-Armory fire. The upgrades had been scheduled to be completed in early 2016.

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