No update on Metro’s full return to service as testing on problematic train cars begins

Metro commuters may have seen the 7000 series cars being tested on the tracks, but they shouldn’t anticipate a sooner-than-expected return to normal service.

“We don’t want to get into giving a time frame because, again, that goes against some of the things we already said — wanting to do this right, wanting to continue to be safe,” Metro spokeswoman Kristie Benson said Monday.

The tests include weighting the cars to simulate passenger traffic. They will have signs posted on their windows letting people know the empty cars are used for testing purposes.

Troubles for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority started last month, when a 7000- series car derailed on the Blue Line outside of the Arlington Cemetery station in Virginia.

It caused roughly 200 passengers to be evacuated through the tunnel and motivated Metro to take its newest cars — which make up over half of its fleet — out of service while it works to fix issues with the cars’ alignment.

Older cars have been reinstated to lessen the strain on riders, who have endured a weekslong pinch on their commute.

Benson said 44 cars are now in service, with four being used for crowding or any maintenance issues.

She reported that delays have gone down on certain lines, with the heavily-trafficked Red Line dropping from 15 minutes to 12 minutes between trains.

The Yellow Line now runs at 20 minute intervals along with Green Lines trains.

Trains on Blue, Silver and Orange Lines are still running every 30 minutes.

Last week, the current service disruptions could last until the end of the month.

When asked if there was any talk of Metro reducing fares for riders during this time, Benson said that would be a decision for WMATA’s board to make.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

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Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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