Metro 7000-series railcars update: multiple issues could be to blame, new tech could monitor

The wheel problems with Metro’s 7000-series railcars could be more complex than originally thought, according to the transit system’s CEO.

As Metro investigators continue to work on a “root-cause analysis” of the problems, “I think they’re starting to get to the point where this may be, the root cause may be, a series of root causes,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld.

“But they have not been able to find a particular issue that, when you get in there, you immediately just add a quick fix,” he told Metro board members on Thursday.

Meanwhile, he said the agency is investing in technology — typically used by larger railroads — that will help measure wheelsets and more.

“As we start to understand this better, it’ll be a tool to bring back the cars sooner,” Wiedefeld said.

That technology will roll out in the coming weeks and be installed in three sites.

About 60% of Metro’s rail fleet has been sidelined in the wake of an October derailment blamed on the wheel problems.

Wiedefeld offered no new timeline on the return of the cars Thursday. Amid the root-cause analysis, the cars are not expected to return into service until April, at the earliest.

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John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP.

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