Washington subway system extends reduced service amid safety probe By Reuters

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© Reuters.

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Washington regional subway system mentioned on Monday that sharp cutbacks in service will final by no less than Sunday because the system grapples with a safety situation flagged after a derailment of a practice exterior the U.S. capital final week.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) mentioned on Monday it could situation an “urgent recommendation” telling transit businesses to examine Kawasaki practice automobiles to verify they don’t have a difficulty with wheel assemblies just like the one recognized in a derailment in Arlington, Virginia, final Tuesday.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the nation’s second-busiest system, was ordered by safety officers on Sunday to not use practically 60% of its rail fleet on Monday.

The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) mentioned it had ordered the 7000-series trains faraway from service on Monday after the NTSB “identified safety concerns related to the spacing of wheels on 7000 Series railcar axles.”

“We may at some point issue an urgent recommendation,” NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy informed reporters on Monday. “If you are a transit agency operating in the United States and you’re listening, make sure you are checking your cars as well.”

The Washington subway system carried a median 625,000 passengers every day earlier than COVID-19. WMATA mentioned in August that subway ridership was at 26% of pre-pandemic ranges on weekdays and close to 50% on weekends. https://wmata.com/initiatives/ridership-portal/upload/August-2021-Ridership-Snapshot.pdf

WMATA mentioned on Monday that the Red Line, which providers Washington and the Maryland suburbs, will run each quarter-hour, whereas all different trains will run each half-hour and urged vacationers to contemplate different transportation.

Homendy mentioned WMATA had been conscious of wheel meeting points since 2017. She mentioned preliminary information confirmed that since 2017, there had been 31 WMATA wheel meeting failures – together with 18 this 12 months – and 21 failures had been uncovered throughout inspections that started on Friday and are ongoing.

A Blue Line 7000-series WMATA practice that derailed final week between the Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations in Virginia truly derailed no less than thrice that day, Homendy mentioned.

The derailment didn’t injure any of the 187 passengers onboard, however Homendy mentioned the incident may have been “catastrophic.”

WMATA mentioned it might not return its 748 7000-series railcars “until they are deemed safe.”

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