D.C. Metro Removing Old Railcars

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) has announced that, in the first three months of 2017, half as many trains were offloaded compared to the same period in 2016, resulting in a significant improvement in reliability. To date, 70 percent of 1000-series cars and nearly half of 4000-series cars have been permanently removed from service.

Metro has accelerated retirement of all 1000- and 4000-series railcars, respectfully the oldest and least reliable railcars, and is also holding a "get well" maintenance program on the authority's other railcars to make them more reliable.

A total of 218 trains were offloaded in the first three months compared to 433 offloads during the same period in 2016. An improvement of nearly 70 percent was seen in Metro's metric that tracks how far a railcar travels, on average, before encountering a problem that delays a train. In the first quarter of 2016, miles between delays totaled 48,064 compared to 81,451 miles in the first quarter of 2017. Also, propulsion-related delays were down 39 percent and door problems were down 16 percent during the period.

"These are all signs that Metro is starting to get 'back to good,'" said Paul J. Wiedefeld, Metro general manager and CEO. "Once we complete the yearlong SafeTrack program in June, customers will notice their commutes are more predictable - and more likely to be on time."

Wiedefeld has directed that all 1000-series and 4000-series cars be retired by the end of the year as new 7000-series cars are delivered. There are currently 39 7000-series trains in service, approximately one-third of trains during rush hour.