Oversight board OKs Metro plan for 7000 series train cars’ return

Metro’s safety oversight board has signed off on Metro’s plan to bring the 7000 series trains back into service. But there won’t be many of them, and it won’t happen until several conditions are met.

It’s also not clear exactly when the process will begin.

“There’s work to be done before even the first 7000 series cars are returned to service,” said David Mayer, the CEO of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. “Metrorail’s plan specifies that there will be no more than eight 7000 series trains in passenger service each day.”

That means there will never be more than 64 of those cars on the tracks in any one day until the WMSC signs off on any changes to the current plan to bring those trains back into service. In the meantime, those trains will be given numerous, rigorous inspections once they’re put back into service.

“These steps include new and improved manual inspection tools,” said WMSC COO Sharmila Samarasinghe. “New and improved procedures” will include a dedicated team that conducts those inspections.

The oversight requirements include “increased frequency of manual inspections, including inspection prior to each day’s passenger service,” she said. The movement of each wheel and axel on those trains will also be measured and recorded “designed to proactively identify any sign” of problems.

“This includes dedicated teams and specific responsibilities of carrying out specific roles,” said Samarasinghe. “These protections must be completed and active before any cars return to passenger service.”

That also means Metro workers must be trained to conduct those inspections before the 7000 series trains returns.

A Metro spokesman said that right now there’s no firm date as to when that might start to happen, but anticipated some time in “the next several weeks.”

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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