Metro says its 7000-series railcars are on track to return to service this summer.
The transit agency said Thursday it has installed the first automated inspection system to test the railcars' wheelsets in real time.
Metro had to pull the fleet from the tracks last year following a partial derailment on the Blue Line.
Part of Metro's plan to bring the cars back to service includes training for Metro staff so they can inspect and maintain the 7000-series cars.
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Another initiative in place is a new technology that digitally inspects wheels, Metro said.
The transit agency’s top watchdog, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, said Thursday it approved Metro’s plan to return the railcars to service.
The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet pinpointed an exact cause for the derailment, Metro said.
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Below is the entire statement from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission:
The WMSC has reviewed WMATA’s 7000 Series Return to Service Plan submitted today, May 19, 2022, and the WMSC has informed Metrorail that the WMSC has no technical objections to Metrorail’s revised plan as submitted by WMATA late this afternoon.
WMATA developed this Return to Service Plan in accordance with the WMSC’s December 29, 2021 order.
WMATA’s plan specifies the steps Metrorail must follow to safely return an initial limited group of 7000 Series cars to passenger service.
These steps include new and improved manual inspection tools; new and improved procedures including additional internal oversight and protections; increased frequency of manual inspections including an inspection prior to each day in passenger service; adjusted criteria for wheelset failures; new procedures to control the movement of railcars and to ensure cars only leave rail yards when they meet Metrorail’s safety requirements as specified in the plan; information technology updates to collect and validate data and provide improved controls on improper use of cars that have not met requirements; new training on these safety improvements; ensuring enough people are trained and enough tools are available to carry out this plan; data analysis; and new proactive use of specific data captured by 7000 Series cars.
This Return to Service Plan does not include the use of automated wayside inspection systems (AWIS).
As specified in the December 29, 2021 order, Metrorail must submit any proposed changes to its plan to the WMSC for review before any such changes are implemented.