WASHINGTON - Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced two big delays Thursday morning during a rail service restoration plan briefing.
Phase two of the Silver Line will not move forward as planned this summer, and there are hold-ups with the 7000-series trains.
As leaders press for a return to normal -- back to the office, back to restaurants, museums, wanting to lower traffic congestion -- the announcement by Metro CEO Paul Wiedefeld has impacts beyond trains on tracks.
The 7000-series trains that were taken offline will stay offline longer than intended. WMATA hopes that they’ll be phased back in over the course of the summer.
Metro said today they still haven’t identified a uniform fix to the root cause of the issue that took them off the tracks.
In the meantime, they’ll phase more 6000-series trains back in for metro riders. Wiedefeld said the plan also includes installing digital sensors on some 7000-series trains and getting that approved by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.
Wiedefeld told FOX 5 safety is more of a concern than sticking to timelines.
"We have, and will continue to put service out there when it’s safe," he said. "And if it’s not, we’re not going to try to force things that just aren’t ready. I understand that’s very frustrating for customers, with a large headway, but we’re doing that from a safety perspective."
Metro officials hoped the Silver Line extension, which will take passengers to Dulles Airport and beyond, would be operational by July 1.
Today, WMATA said that won’t happen since safety upgrades still need to be installed, and the airport authority needs to complete things on its end with occupancy permitting.
Wiedefeld previously set a target date of June 30, but as of now, there is no set timeframe for when the Silver Line extension will open.