Monday, July 5, 2010

DC Transit Authority Removes 100 Rail Cars

Kris Alingod - AHN News Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (AHN) - The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority removed dozens of cars from service over the weekend because of safety issues. The action is expected to affect the morning and afternoon rush hours when the work week begins on Tuesday.

The agency said 100 rail cars from its 4000 series need repairs after testing showed that a possible short in circuitry could cause doors to open while the cars are moving.

The repairs will take until the end of the month, at the rate of four to eight cars repaired each day. Officials expect some shortage of rail cars starting Tuesday, but are also hoping that ridership will be relatively light because passengers often extend their vacations during Fourth of July week.

“We took the precautionary and proactive action to ensure the highest level of safety for our riders in making the decision to remove the cars from service until each door motor’s circuitry is rebuilt,” Metro Interim General Manager Richard Sarles said in a statement Sunday.

The transit agency said it had been attempting to simulate an occurrence of rail car door openings and was able to do so late last week. Engineers identified the issue within the circuitry of cylindrical door motors of the cars, each of which has 12 separate doors. They will be working "around the clock" to repair, clean and rebuild circuitry in the door motors, which number 1,200 in total.

"There was not any single occurrence that triggered our decision,” Dave Kubicek, Metro deputy general manager of operations, said in a statement. “We are always studying our cars and looking at ways to improve their reliability. In doing so, we discovered this issue.”

The Metro serves a population of 3.4 million in the national capital area. Its 4000 series rail cars were last put into service in 1993.

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