Paul Wiedefeld

‘Responsibility Lies With Me': Metro GM Addresses Sidelined Trains

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Metro’s general manager says his maintenance team may not have thought it was necessary to tell him about debilitating wheel issues with the 7000 series railcars that were known for years because they fix issues all the time without telling him.

The transit agency pulled all of its 7000 series railcars after Oct. 12's partial derailment on the Blue Line, which happened near the Arlington Cemetery station.

Nearly 200 riders sat on the dark train and then walked through a tunnel the equivalent of about six football fields to get to safety. Some riders reported smoke on the train and made panicked calls to family members to tell them they loved them, fearing the worst. One person was taken to a hospital.

Metro had known for years there were significant issues with parts of the wheels on the 7000 series railcars – yet a permanent fix was never made.

General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says he wants to find a new way for issues to be elevated to his level, he isn’t ready to place blame on anybody for the issue with the 7000 series.

“I think we have to look at it a little bit longer term than going right to, Alright, well let’s fire a few people and all that,” Wiedefeld said. “If there’s responsibility, the responsibility lies with me. I mean ultimately, I’m responsible, so that’s a different issue.”

Riders will continue to wait longer for trains as a new safety plan is drawn up to get the 7000 series railcars back on the tracks. Metro submitted a plan to its main safety watchdog.

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