Metro Red Line users will face significant closures this weekend as the transit agency works to replace a communications cable that dates back to the original construction of the Metrorail system.
The agency plans to replace trains with buses over the weekend while they install a new cable. Free shuttle buses will replace trains all weekend between Silver Spring and Rhode Island Avenue stations.
Metro said the cable is approximately 40 years old and is used to transmit train speed and location information. Trains between Brookland and Fort Totten and Fort Totten and Takoma will be limited to one train on each track at a time, resulting in congestion and delays.
The Washington Post reported the issue with the cable could cause a train to essentially "disappear." That is what happened in June 2009 when two Red Line trains collided and killed nine people, according to the Post.
"We have detected a condition that, left unaddressed, could affect the integrity of the signal system, and that is something we take very serioulsy," said Joseph Leader, Metro's chief operating officer.
If all repairs are done in a timely manner, normal Red Line service is expected to resume on Monday, Dec. 18.