Inspection finds axle issues on Metro 7000-Series trains

An inspection of Metro’s 7000-Series trains has found 20 axles were out of alignment, a spokesman for the transit agency said during a Tuesday briefing.

Inspections, though, are done with those 748 trains, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority spokesman Ian Jannetta told reporters.

Those trains — which make up about 60% of its fleet – have been under scrutiny after the derailment of a Blue Line train earlier this month. Wheels on those trains have been the particular focus, and federal regulators have already said the problem could have led to a “catastrophic incident.”

With the inspections done, the next step to getting them up and running again is submitting a testing plan to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission for review and approval, which he said should happen on Wednesday.

Only 31 trains were running Monday, with an additional two serving as “gap trains” to reduce crowding and “compensate for any unscheduled maintenance issues,” Jannetta said.

They all accounted for about 151,000 trips on Monday — “more or less the same as we saw last Monday, which was the first day of our reduced service,” he said.

About 65% of the trains arrived within two minutes of their scheduled time. Trains have been running, per Metro, every 15 to 20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30 to 40 minutes on the other lines.

The drastically scaled-back rail service, however, has apparently not put more riders on Metro buses, which are back to about 90% of pre-pandemic levels.

“We have not seen a significant boost in Metrobus ridership,“ Jannetta said.

Efforts to get older trains running also continue, he said, with inspections underway on 2000-series trains.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer. In a previous life, he helped edit The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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