Metro warns that return to normal service will be ‘gradual’

Metro leaders said Thursday that they hope to release a timeline before Christmas that provides details on when 7000-series train cars will start returning to the tracks.

The cars were pulled from service due to wheelset defects that were uncovered during a safety investigation following a derailment on the Blue Line in October.



“I want to emphasize that the 7k’s reintegration will be gradual,” said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. “It will not happen all at once.”

Metro continues to cut the number of trains operating on a line at any given time, with a majority of its rolling stock still in storage. Trains are running every 12 minutes on the Red Line, every 20 minutes on the Green and Yellow lines and every 30 minutes on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.

“We are planning for incremental service improvements,” Wiedefeld said, telling riders that train arrivals will soon increase to every eight minutes on the Red Line and 15 minutes on all other lines.

According to Wiedefeld, Metro engineers are reviewing data from a recent test conducted on the 7000-series cars and will develop a new safety plan that will include more frequent wheelset inspections.

The final plan would need to be approved by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, which is the independent agency that oversees Metro.

“We hope to know more about the timing soon, but all steps in the process must be satisfied to proceed forward,” Wiedefeld said.

Station gets new name

A Metro station in Montgomery County, Maryland, will soon have a new name.

During its Thursday meeting, the Metro board voted on a proposal to rename the White Flint Metro Station “North Bethesda.”

County leaders had pushed for the change, citing the fact that its namesake, the White Flint Mall, no longer exists.

“When you arrive at the White Flint station, nobody is quite sure where you are,” said Lynn Bowersox, assistant general manager at Metro. “The county and the development community are very anxious to change the name to North Bethesda.”

It will take some time to change all the signage that still says “White Flint,” however.

Metro leaders said the name would officially be changed to “North Bethesda” some time next year when the Silver Line expansion is opened to the public. That expansion will extend Metro’s rail system to Dulles International Airport and beyond.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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