WASHINGTON - As the most aggressive maintenance program in Metro's 41-year history comes to an end, the transit system warns more work is yet to be done.
A report due out on Thursday, and shared early with WAMU transportation reporter and FOX 5 contributor, Martin Di Caro, details Metro's SafeTrack program which is scheduled to end on June 25.
SafeTrack, which began last June, was designed to repair the transit system’s infrastructure during a series of scheduled “maintenance surges" that disrupted travel on the lines.
Project leaders say the work nearly eliminated the defective wooden railroad ties that were rotting across the system. The report says 45,000 railroad ties and that only two percent are now defective – a 22 percent drop since last year. Crews also replaced tens of thousands of ties, grout pads, rail fasteners, third rail insulators and also feet of rail. Metro, Di Caro reported, said it replaced enough railroad ties to build 50 times higher than the Washington Monument - or to build two new monuments.
The report, said Di Caro, credits SafeTrack work with creating smoother and quieter rides, reducing the number of smoke and fire incidents by 16 percent, and reducing the number of times Metro had to call in emergency bus bridges to pick up delayed rail passengers dropped by a third.
"SafeTrack has been very successful in terms of safety performance, work completed, and schedule achieved," Di Caro said the report concluded.
Di Caro also said the reports notes that the projects are pro-active. He also says the report makes no mention of the problems found by federal track inspectors, filed in monthly reports by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
Here is the FTA's March inspection report: https://www.transit.dot.gov/sites/fta.dot.gov/files/docs/regulations-and-guidance/safety/61216/fta-wmata-inspection-reports-march-2017.pdf