Metro’s oversight agency has ordered the transit system to pull all its 7000 Series railcars, which it has been gradually rolling out after an investigation into a derailment on the Blue Line that revealed a wheel defect.
The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission on Wednesday ordered Metro to take out the railcars out of passenger service until the transit agency can provide a revised return-to-service plan that WMSC does not have a technical objection to.
The revised plan should specify what Metro will do to make sure that any “asset that fails a safety-critical inspection” is removed and kept out of service, and how Metro will make sure that “no alternative procedures or practices are introduced” outside of the plan. Metro must also include inspection frequency.
Earlier this month, the first 7000-series train was back on Metro’s tracks nearly two months after a derailment led the subway system to order the railcars out of service. But a week later, the return was paused over an abundance of caution.
On Wednesday, WMSC found that Metro returned some 7000 Series railcars to service that do not meet the inspection criteria in the plan.
“The WMSC identified today that at least five of the 40 7000 Series railcars that Metrorail was operating in passenger service did not meet the criteria specified in Metrorail’s return to service plan submitted to the WMSC earlier this month,” a commission spokesman said in a statement.
Upon being notified by the commission, Metro removed all the railcars from passenger service.
Metro said that the railcars are out of service while it revises the daily inspections process. “There will be no impact to rail service frequencies,” a Metro spokesman said in a statement.