WASHINGTON - Metro customers can expect reduced rail service to continue through the end of the year.
Metro officials say there is no timeline established to return the 7000-series fleet to service and 6000-series railcars are still awaiting parts due to global supply chain challenges.
"As we get more parts, we will return more of the 6000-series railcars to service for our customers during December," said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld in a statement. "While we know service is not as frequent as customers would prefer, we will add each train as it becomes available to help incrementally improve service reliability and frequency."
Officials say nearly 75 percent of Metrorail stations have trains arriving at least every 10-12 minutes.
"This is a monumental undertaking that is being performed on parallel tracks to ensure that we have as little down time as possible between testing and remobilizing the fleet," Wiedefeld said. "We are intentionally not setting deadlines so that safety and good data drive our decisions, but we are mindful that customers want the best service we can provide as soon as we can deliver it, and we are committed to building back up in phases."
The decision to extend the period of reduced service to the end of the year comes over a month after the transit system pulled more than half its fleet of trains from service due to a lingering problem with the wheels and axles that led to a derailing in early October.
The wheel issue is being blamed for an October 12 incident in which a train car slipped off the tracks on the Metro's Blue Line near Arlington National Cemetery. Passengers were stuck inside a tunnel and had to be evacuated from the stranded car.
Several days after the derailment, the transit system's safety commission ordered the withdrawal of the entire 7000-series line of trains. The Kawasaki-made 7000-series are the newest set of trains in service and the 748 cars comprise about 60% of the fleet.