Metro looks at track work changes, station shutdowns

WASHINGTON — Some Metro stations could be shut down for longer periods of time after a review by Metro’s new general manager that aims to address problems with how little work actually gets done when tracks are taken out of service.

“Getting more track access to do bigger projects by considering closing station X and station Y and just going in and doing a big bang job … or are we talking about the same stuff we’ve been doing since 2011?” Metro Board Member Tom Bulger, who represents D.C., asked Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.

“That is exactly what we’re talking about,” Wiedefeld responded.

An investigation has found that Metro does not do enough maintenance, and a top Metro official suggested in September that entire stretches of track may need to be shut down on a more regular basis and for longer periods of time to help Metro catch up on repair projects.

“We’re in a catch-up mode. We had to do in five years what we should have done over 10, but we’re all anxious to know when does that catch-up mode reach its termination,” outgoing Metro Board Chairman Mort Downey says.

“It never ends, but we don’t always have to be catching up with the past if we’ve reached a steady state of renewal,” he says.

Wiedefeld says his review of Metro’s single-tracking and weekend station shutdowns will be completed “in short order.”

“I’m doing a review of that whole process, the prioritization process that we use in basically using track time, and are there other ways that we should be doing it,” Wiedefeld says.

“I just want to make sure that we’ve thought that through in every way we can, and I’m just not accepting the way we’ve been doing it,” he adds.

Wiedefeld would not say what the recommendations will be, but added that he recognizes that midday work that begins at 10 a.m., as well as weekend work, has an impact on riders.

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