Metro pauses return of 7000-series railcars, extending service reductions

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld said officials don't have any additional safety concerns with the cars but wanted to pause their return to perform daily inspections out of an “abundance of caution.”

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority paused the return of a series of rail cars that sparked transit safety concerns following derailment issues earlier this fall.

In a release issued last week, WMATA officials said they halted plans to bring back the 7000-series railcars to perform additional inspections of the trains’ wheels, a reversal from an announcement earlier this month indicating that the agency would start reintroducing the cars to service. Metro pulled the rail cars from service in October following a Blue Line derailment in a move that slashed service and extended wait times at stations across the D.C. area.

The suspension of the cars, which account for 60 percent of WMATA’s fleet, troubled transit plans this fall for students and local commuters who said they had to miss class or readjust their schedules to make up for the changes.

Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld said officials don’t have any additional safety concerns with the cars but wanted to perform the daily inspections out of an “abundance of caution.”

“While I recognize the pause is unexpected, we are going to continuously evaluate data we are collecting to ensure that we are enhancing safety,” Wiedefeld said in the release. “I feel that requiring a daily inspection is the safest course until we know more and our experts have an opportunity to review the data we are collecting with the few trainsets now in operation.”

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