Root of problem that allowed doors to open on train found, Metro says

A Metro train at the Reagan National Station is seen in this WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Metro said Wednesday it’s figured out what caused a 3000 Series rail car to open its doors as it was moving along the Orange Line earlier this week.

The glitch was a faulty electrical component inside the master controller of the train. Metro was able to isolate it and then replicate the problem using the same controller on another train that was otherwise operating fine.

Summer 2019 Blue and Yellow Line shutdown guide

“There are 26 rail cars that have that certain master controller configuration,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said. “Obviously, we removed all those from service and we’ll continue to work and replace all those.”

The rest of Metro’s older rail cars, including hundreds of other 3000 Series trains, were looked at and judged to be OK.

“They’re all fine, so they are now back in service,” Wiedefeld said.

He says the Washington Metropolitan Safety Commission agreed with the move to return the other rail cars into service.

“The investigation is still ongoing, but we know that’s what the root cause was,” Wiedefeld said.

He said the rail cars were taken out before because “we just didn’t know the root cause, so we were not going to put any trains out until we understood the root cause of the issue.”

He added that if the electronic system was working correctly, the train would have known a door was open and wouldn’t have been able to continue.

Weidefeld also said it’s unlikely the train’s operator was even aware of the problem because of the faulty electronics. However, that operator is on vacation this week, and Metro hasn’t been able to speak to them.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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