WASHINGTON -- About three-and-a-half months after a tragic Metrorail crash, Red Line service is returning to normal.
Riders should notice improved movement of trains, according to the transit agency.
The return to rail service as usual comes with the completion of repairs between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations, where a train struck a stopped train, killing nine and injuring dozens more on June 22. Track circuits malfunctioned and failed to detect the struck train had stopped.
Repairs near Fort Totten included replacing track equipment from the 1970s. Red Line trains no longer must travel at reduced speeds, and they don't have to travel between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations one at a time.
Trains will continue to operate in manual mode, though, so hang on tight, riders, those herky-jerky commutes aren't going to get any smoother. Quite frankly, the idea of operators driving at full speed scares us more than a track circuit anomaly.
Metro increased Red Line capacity, running 44 trains instead of 38 during the morning and evening rushes.
Repairs to track circuits near the Takoma and Silver Spring stations continue and require single-tracking from 10 p.m. until close from Sunday nights through Thursday nights for four to six weeks, but that shouldn't cause delays because trains only run every 15 to 20 minutes at that hour anyway. It's part of a 2006 project to replace track circuits at 22 locations, Metro officials said.
Of course, riders can continue to expect delays -- the good old-fashioned "unscheduled" delays, which happen all the time anyway.
Metro continues to test all track circuits after every morning and evening rush.