WASHINGTON - Metro says train service will not be impacted along the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines as previously expected after officials say the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission expedited their review and stay of their directive related to rail operator training.
Earlier on Monday transit officials said service would be reduced from every 15 minutes to every 25 minutes after WMSC directives sidelined more than 50 certified rail operators and stalled railcar return plans.
"We appreciate the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission for their expedited review and stay of their directive related to rail operator training. Customers are the real winners in this process," Metro officials said. "We also appreciate WSMC’s commitment to timely consider our petition on moving to Phase 3 of our 7000-series train Return to Service plan. In the spirit of collaboration and transparency, Metro will continue the enhanced training for rail operators."
Metro previously said it had filed formal petitions for reconsideration of WMSC directives that remove certified operators from service and that stalls the previously agreed upon 7000-series Return to Service plan.
Metro's current rail operator training program requires 17 weeks of combined classroom and on-the-job training for student operators with an instructor in the cab ("stick time"), for at least 38 hours, Metro officials say.
There is no industry standard but the transit agency says a sampling of their peer transit agencies suggests an average of 10 weeks combined classroom and on-the-job training for rail student operators - making Metro’s requirements about 60 percent longer than their peers.
In another directive Metro said was received Friday, WMSC halted the October Return to Service agreement, which permitted Metro to put more trains in service for customers.
The directive denied Metro the ability to move to the next phase in the 7000-series railcar Return to Service plan even though Metro satisfied all the conditions in the plan, and has no documented 7K wheel movement since May 2022.
Metro has provided a link to the directives and petitions online.
The changes would have began Tuesday, Jan. 17 and would have lasted through most of the week.