July 4, 2010

Metro removes every car from service for door inspection

WASHINGTON D.C. - As a precaution, Metro officials have removed 100 of its rail cars from service to inspect the operation of the car door motors, make repairs and return them to service. Between 60 and 70 of the 4000 series rail cars are in service on an average weekday and all are expected to return to use within two to three weeks. All 4000 cars were removed from service at the end of Friday, July 2 to allow Metros rail experts to address a possible short in the car door circuitry that could cause the doors to open while the cars are in motion.

The removal of the cars was not prompted by a particular incident, but performance tests and observations conducted by Metro's operations staff. The cars are undergoing a rigorous inspection, repair and testing process. None of the cars were in use today (July 3). "This is a precautionary and proactive action to ensure the highest level of safety for our riders," said Interim General Manager Richard Sarles. Metro has been attempting to simulate an occurrence of the door openings in a controlled environment in a rail yard and were able to do so late this week. At that point the engineers, maintenance experts and quality control officials were able to identify the cause of the concern as well as the needed fix. The problem is within the circuitry of the cylindrical door motors, which are about a foot long and five inches wide. In total, the 100 rail cars have 1,200 motors as each rail car has 12 individual doors. This is a precautionary and proactive effort on our part. There was not any single occurrence that triggered our decision, said Deputy General Manager of Operations Dave J. Kubicek, who recommended that the cars be removed from service as a precautionary measure.

Rail officials expect little impact to service for Independence Day because the service plan calls for 800 rail cars to be in service at the height of the fireworks rush between 6 p.m. and midnight. Service will not be affected on Monday, July 5 because it is a federal holiday, and ridership is expected to be light. Tuesday through Friday service is expected to be impacted somewhat, when typically 850 rail cars are used for the morning and afternoon peak hours. However because the work-week is starting with a federal holiday, ridership is not as likely to be as high as a typical work-week as locals often extend their vacations during 4th of July week. SOURCE: FOX DC

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