Metro Informed by WMSC That is Has No Technical Objections to Final Plan Submitted for Return to Service

by MCS Staff

7000-Series Return to Service Update

  • On December 14, Metro is informed by the WMSC (Washington Metrorail Safety Commission) that it has no technical objections to the final plan submitted to gradually return nearly half of the 7000-series railcars to passenger service with the metered release of no more than 336 railcars.

Advisory Effective: 10/18/21 – 12/31/21

Pet Metro:

Metrorail service* will operate as follows:

  • Red Line trains run every 12 minutes
  • Green Line and Yellow Line trains run every 20 minutes
  • Blue Line, Orange Line, and Silver Line trains run every 24 minutes
  • Silver Line service has resumed between Wiehle-Reston East and Largo Town Center

*Service subject to change due to scheduled maintenance and track work.
View the weekday and weekend service advisories for scheduled service adjustments.

Metro will continue to operate at reduced service levels through at least December 31 and will advise the public of any additional service improvements should more trains become available.

Metro’s trip planner has been updated to reflect the latest service schedule. Customers are also encouraged to use the live train map to see the locations of trains on each line. In-station next train signs (Passenger Information Displays) are providing accurate train arrival estimates.

Metro continues to work closely with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission and NTSB and as more information develops, we will update the public about service. Continue to visit and follow us on social @metrorailinfo and @metrobusinfo for the most up-to-date information.



Actions Taken

On Wednesday, October 13, Metro began working with NTSB and the WMSC to determine the cause of the Blue Line derailment at Arlington Cemetery; that investigation is still ongoing.

Because safety remains our number one priority, we have removed all 7000-series railcars, roughly 60 percent of our fleet, from passenger service.

  • On October 28, wheelset inspections were completed on all 7000-series railcars.
  • On November 4, Metro submitted a test plan to the WMSC for acceptance. [Read test plan letter]
  • On November 8, Metro began testing two weighted 7000-series trains in the system to determine inspection intervals.
  • On November 17, Metro demonstrates wheelset measurements inspections [Watch Wheelset Inspection Video]
  • On December 14, Metro is informed by the WMSC that it has no technical objections to the final plan submitted to gradually return nearly half of the 7000-series railcars to passenger service with the metered release of no more than 336 railcars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Background: On Wednesday, October 13, Metro, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) launched an investigation into the Blue Line derailment that occurred on Tuesday, October 12, between Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery Stations.
The investigation is ongoing, and the following questions provide the most up-to-date information to ensure the public is informed.

What’s the most recent update with the 7000-series fleet?
On December 14, Metro’s test plan was accepted by the WMSC which allows Metro to train its staff on new 7k inspection requirements and gradually introduce (42) 7000-series trains into passenger service.
How long will the 7000-series trains be in service before being inspected?
Metro will inspect the 7000-series railcars every seven days.
Why are inspections so frequent?
Seven-day inspections are required to ensure the safety and reliability of the 7000-series wheelset. Inspections will be conducted on the (42) 7000-series trains in service to ensure wheelsets remain in tolerance.
Will older model railcars continue to be used for service?
Yes, customers will continue to see the 2000-, 3000-, and 6000-series railcars in addition to the 7000-series railcars in passenger service. As we began to gradually introduce 7ks into passenger service, older model railcars will continue to be used until full restoration of the 7000-series fleet is complete.
Will Service Levels Improve?
Current service levels will remain in place through December 31. Customers should start to see gradual service improvements in January as the 7000-series railcars are placed back into passenger service.
What service improvements can customers expect?
Service will remain the same through the end of December and first couple of weeks in January. Customers should continue to use Metro’s Live Train and Trip Planner tools to get accurate train arrival and departure times throughout the system.
Is it safe to ride a 7000-series train?
Yes, all Metro trains in passenger service are safe. We take the safety of our customers seriously. That is why we’ve taken our time to get this inspection process right.
More FAQS about the ongoing investigation:
Is the Blue Line investigation still ongoing?
Yes, the Blue Line investigation will continue until Metro and our safety partners understand the full extent of the October 12 derailment, and begin to determine what actions are needed to prevent a similar incident from occurring. Metro, NTSB, FTA and WMSC are all committed to safety. Anytime a rail or bus incident occurs, Metro investigates the cause to determine what steps are needed to improve the system and ensure our customers’ safety. In this incident, NTSB is the lead investigative agency.
Why are other organizations involved in the investigation?
NTSB, WMSC and FTA have jurisdiction over investigations and safety practices that govern our operations. All participating agencies have a vested interest in understanding the root cause of this incident and ensuring changes are implemented to uphold the integrity of the system.
What has the investigation revealed?
While the investigation is ongoing, the wheel assembly on our 7000-series railcars is suspected to be a factor in the October 12 derailment, an issue WMATA had been working with Kawasaki, maker of the 7000-series cars, to resolve since 2017.
When did the 7000-series car enter Metro’s fleet?
There are a total of 748 7000-series railcars. The first four pilot railcars were delivered to Metro on January 6, 2014. The first 7000-series trains went into service on April 14, 2015. The last railcars were delivered February 26, 2020.
How often did Metro conduct inspections of the 7000-series car?
Metro’s 7000-series railcars are inspected on an ongoing basis as part of our preventive maintenance program. Over a four-year period, thousands of inspections were conducted. In any instances when wheelsets were found out of tolerance, the trainset was removed from service and the wheelsets were replaced before the cars were put back in passenger service.
When will the investigative findings be released?
NTSB will release the findings once the investigation has concluded.

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