Metrorail delays to persist at least through end of month

Media Credit: File Photo by Sabrina Godin

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said WMATA doesn't currently have a timetable for how long the delays will last, but expects them to extend into November.

Metro riders can expect service delays to continue until at least Oct. 31 and likely into November, officials said at a press briefing on Friday.

Red Line trains will operate every 15 to 20 minutes, while riders on all other lines will see trains every 30 to 40 minutes, according to a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority release. The announcement comes after Metro officials pulled all of their 7000-series trains, which comprise 60 percent of the train fleet, following a train derailment on the Blue Line on Oct. 12.

The trains were pulled after Metro officials found issues on other 7000-series trains similar to the axle assembly malfunction linked to the derailment.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said WMATA does not have a timetable for when train services would return, but that the delays would probably extend into November.

“The real key is getting a new inspection program that everyone feels comfortable with, that is safe, and then we’ll get those cars out as quickly as we can,” Wiedefeld said at the press conference.

He said officials will put older or retired cars in service to alleviate some of the service delays, but he said he does not know the total number of retired cars that will be brought back into service or by how much the wait times would shrink.

“What we’re trying to do is get as many of the rest of the fleet out there,” he said. “At a minimum, what it does, if there’s any issue with a car or say someone gets sick on a train, you can bring in other cars basically to deal with those types of issues, so you have sort of a redundancy.”

The increased waiting times and reduced service have disrupted commuter schedules for GW community members, who rely on Metro train services to travel on and off-campus.

“We understand it has been a difficult week for people who depend on Metro in the region, and acknowledge the challenges our customers are experiencing,” Wiedefeld said in a release. “We are working as quickly and safely as possible to inspect every wheel on the 7000-series railcars and it’s important to get that right.”

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