Metro Still Puts Older Cars in the Lead

Transit agency allows 1000 series cars to lead when newer cars aren't available

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    Carole Watson
    The reason why older rail cars have Metro riders concerned.

    WASHINGTON -- For years, questions have been raised about the crashworthiness of Metro's older train cars, most recently about the series 1000 cars after the June crash that killed nine people.

    In that crash, a series 1000 car collapsed about two-thirds of the way back when it struck it stopped train. An issue with the crashworthiness of that series, which dates to the 1970s, had been brought to Metro's attention by the National Transportation Safety Board, but Metro failed to take recommended action to replace or retrofit those cars.

    Metro Putting Older Cars in the Lead Again

    [DC] Metro Putting Older Cars in the Lead Again
    After the multiple fatal train crash in June, Metro said it would put the older cars in the middle of trains, but when pressed, those cars still take the lead. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009)

    Metro decided to put the older cars in the middle of trains, officials said. Now Metro's acknowledging that older cars still get used at the front of trains on occasion.

    "We do that in the event that a particular rail yard is short of other rail cars of other series," Metro spokesman Stephen Taubenkibel said. "So we have to make a decision, if for some reason we're short, the options are: Do we not run a train and make people wait longer, or do we take those 1000 cars in the lead, put them on a train for one trip, get it from one end of the line to the other, and then cut them off and reposition them."

    Metro do not have an exact figure of how many times since the June crash it has used the older series 1000 cars in the front of trains, but it considers the occasional use of them at the head of a train safe.