Metro service reduction likely to remain through November

The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission has accepted Metro’s plan to test its 7000 Series trains, but the transit authority has said service will likely remain disrupted through at least the end of the month.

The commission accepted Metro’s proposal to test 7000 Series trains to determine the rate at which they need to be serviced, in order to avoid an issue with the railcar wheels that led to a derailment last month.

The WMSC said it has no technical objections to the proposed test, which will simulate the normal service conditions the trains operate under, and “will closely monitor the testing activities.”

Metro said Thursday that its estimates showed that the wheels would drift on the axles of the 7000 Series trains after an extended period of time in service, and that the “worst-case” timetable for this drift was every 10 days. If the testing confirms their estimates, Metro said, they will put the railcars through an inspection every eight days.

The WMSC said the engineering test will help Metro create a plan to return the 7000 Series trains safely to service. “We look forward to receiving that plan,” WMSC said.

Metro said its current service schedule — which sees Red Line trains run every 15 minutes, Green Line trains every 20 minutes and Orange, Blue, Yellow and Silver Line trains every 30 minutes — will likely continue through at the least the end of the month.

Metro has been working to bring 2000, 3000 and 6000 Series trains back into service to fill in the holes when the 7000 Series was taken out of service, but has said regular service intervals will likely only be restored once the newer trains are brought back to the system.

Metro finished getting all 2000 and 3000 Series trains from the Shady Grove Rail Yard, and said they will be brought into the system in the coming days.

As of Friday, Metro was running 43 trains, with seven trains being used to reduce crowding and account for unscheduled maintenance.

Metro also clarified Friday that a problem with the canopy glass for the Rockville Station canopy project was not caused by a fault in the glass, but was a result of damage done during shipping.

That project, which has caused the temporary closure of the Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations, was originally slated for completion by December. However, with the damaged glass and the removal of older train cars from the Shady Grove Rail Yard, Metro said its new estimate for completing the project is January 2022.

Metro rider Joceyln Budda told WTOP the decrease in trains has impacted how she goes about her day.

“I start work at 7 a.m. and I used to be able to leave at like quarter after 6 to 6:30,” she said.”Now I’m waking up an hour earlier — I have to leave my house by 5:30 to catch a bus and stand here and wait in the cold, and it’s gotten colder earlier than it did last year and it’s been rough.”

She said the news that the disruptions would go on through November “threw off my whole day.”

Monesia Rajah said that around 30 minutes have been added to her commute from Shady Grove to Greenbelt.

“I have to keep hopping on different shuttles, and sometimes the one straight here isn’t working so I’ve got to ride all the way over to Rockville and it takes longer than, you know, catching a train straight from Shady Grove to where I need to go,” she said.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo 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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