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Delays linger on Blue and Yellow lines after Friday derailment near National Airport

Normal train service resumed today on most Metro lines, but delays remain on the Blue and Yellow line after a derailment on Friday between the National Airport and Potomac Yard Metro stations.

Metro GM and CEO Randy Clarke said on Friday that a 7000-series train derailed after hitting a 20-inch diameter object on the tracks that fell from an earlier train, possibly part of the brake assembly.

“Metro will operate service to all customers (every 6-12 minutes from end-of-line stations),” the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said in a release. “However, Blue and Yellow line trains will depart every 15 minutes while work continues to repair tracks damaged in Friday’s derailment.”

WMATA said the investigation into the derailment is continuing.

“Metro found that the wheel measurements on the 7000-series train were consistent with its specifications and there were no apparent track or infrastructure defects, as a preliminary matter,” WMATA said. “Metro investigators, who are coordinating with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, continue to focus on a disc brake that came loose from a train ahead as a causal factor.”

Clarke said the object on the tracks likely fell off an earlier 3000-series train, possibly part of the brake assembly, but it would not affect braking for the train. WMATA said in a release that the 3000 and 2000-series cars are reaching the end of their life and inspections found 32 with “non-conforming bolts.”

According to the release:

Following yesterday’s order from Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke to remove all 2000- and 3000-series railcars from service, mechanical teams have inspected 102 cars and identified 32 with non-conforming bolts.

“We continue to act quickly on information as it develops to ensure safe and reliable train operations for our customers and employees,” said Clarke. “I am proud of the team for delivering solid service while tackling this challenge with our 35-year-old equipment.”

The 2000- and 3000-series cars, built in the mid 1980’s are reaching the end of their useful life and are scheduled to be replaced by new 8000-series railcars.

Image via WMATA/Twitter

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