What’s up with those slow WMATA trains these days?
Commuters of Metrorail have very likely noticed or heard about trains running slower than they usually do. After the incident earlier in August where a “code black” issue did not immediately result in track being taken out of service for repair as required, WMATA was directed to perform track inspections on every mile of track in the system by Acting General Manager/CEO Jack Requa, which has resulted in trains being slowed down in some problem areas and curves. The agency has been using their Track Geometry Vehicle (TGV) to check the system’s rails for defects, as well as manual inspections while walking the tracks to see if the track is safe.
The first to notice ongoing changes after the incident were - and still are - those on the Red Line. Speed restrictions, where the trains are limited to speeds below what the track is ordinarily rated for, were placed on sections of track near the core between Union Station and NoMa-Gallaudet on August 19th where all track ties and fasteners of a 1300-foot section of track are being replaced. Additional track work is being done mid-day between NoMa-Gallaudet and Rhode Island Avenue which is possibly related, but at very least causing single-tracking during the mid-day work window. Both of these portions of mid-day work continue through September 19th.
On August 21st, the speed restrictions were expanded system-wide to any curved section of track rated for running trains at-or-above 35 miles per hour on all lines. WMATA says it is “conducting an aggressive campaign to visually inspect curved sections of track on the Metrorail system” which is why the restrictions were added, however no other information has been publicly released about the issues. In a tweet from WMATA’s Board member Augustine, there are no lingering code black issues known throughout the system.
@pbvenzke There are restrictions throughout the Red Line. Union Station, NoMa, Dupont, Woodley Park just to name a few. Hope this helps.— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) August 27, 2015