WASHINGTON - Metrorail reduced service levels will continue through at least November 15, officials say, as the transit system works to get its 7000-series railcars safely back on the tracks.
Trains will operate every 15-20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30-40 minutes on all other lines, officials said Thursday.
Silver Line service will continue to operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Federal Center SW only. Customers are encouraged is use Metrobus service as an alternative if needed.
"It has been a difficult few weeks for those who rely on transit in the region, and we thank our customers for their continued patience as we work to increase service as quickly as we can with safety being our top priority," said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld in a statement. "We've completed inspections of every 7000-series railcar, over 3,000 axles in all, and are now working with the WMSC on a testing plan that will allow the trains to safely return to service."
The decision to extend the period of reduced service comes 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.