Metro working to get older trains into rail system, but don’t expect substantial impact on train times

Metro is working to put older train cars back onto its rail system amid the removal of all 7000 Series trains for an ongoing inspection and investigation of a derailment earlier this month, but the agency is warning that things will likely not return to normal until the current generation trains return.

Metro spokesman Ian Jannetta said the transit agency is working to get train cars from the Shady Grove Rail Yard back into rotation, but said he could not give a timeline for when riders can expect those trains. He also said the impact of bringing older trains would likely be marginal compared to the return of 7000 Series trains.

“Obviously, any additional service we can put out there, we’re trying our best to do,” Jannetta said. “It makes a difference, you know, to every customer — every minute of the day is invaluable and important.”

He said the additional trains would help to mitigate the impact of trains being pulled off the system for regular maintenance. However, “at the end of the day … the only thing that’s gonna make the truly dramatic difference is getting those 7000s back in service.”

Metro is currently running on a reduced schedule plan that has trains running once every 15 to 20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30 to 40 minutes on every other line.

On Monday, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld outlined plans to bring 2000 and 3000 Series trains — which date back to the 1980s — back to the rail system after undergoing inspections.

Metro is still finalizing an inspection plan to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission for the 7000 Series trains. An issue with the wheels and axles on the trains is believed to be what allowed a 7000 Series car to derail on the Blue Line on Oct. 12.

There are currently 2000, 3000 and 6000 Series trains operating in the system. Jannetta said around 30% of trains did not arrive on their scheduled times on Tuesday, a number Metro hopes to improve with the addition of the older cars.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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