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Fresh Repairs, Breakdowns Test Patience Of DC Metro Riders

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Repairs from the D.C. Metro’s next phase of SafeTrack and multiple mechanical failures made for a sluggish commute for many riders Monday morning.

Officials with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) extended Surge 7 maintenance, which would have ended Aug. 18, to accommodate safety directives from the Federal Transit Administration. Officials pushed off Surge 8 repairs, which were scheduled to begin Aug. 20 on the blue line, to Monday. Various portions of blue line track are shut down, and there is continuous single tracking between the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations until Sept. 11, reports WTOP.

Riders navigating the new repair schedule also had to deal with delays on three lines after a power failure and equipment malfunctions. Metro officials are still advising riders to expect blue line delays after an unspecified power problem at the Franconia-Springfield station. Earlier in the commute, riders on a red line and silver line train were offloaded after equipment failures, causing residual delays.

Trains are running just once every 24 minutes at the Franconia-Springfield station and every 12 minutes at the Van Dorn Street station. Metro officials are telling riders all along the blue line to expect overcrowded platforms and significant delays. Officials recommend seeking alternate travel options if possible.

The current surge of SafeTrack repairs also includes disruptions to weekend service, which were added recently after a number of federal investigations. Inspections revealed familiar safety threats on all six lines of tracks throughout the transit system, similar to the mechanical issues blamed for the July 29 derailment of a silver line train. The potential threats forced officials to overhaul their safety plan to meet the standards set forth by the FTA.

Officials will shut down various portions of blue line track for two consecutive weekends as part of the revisions. The Franconia- Springfield station will close the first two weekends of September. Both the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations will be closed on labor day.

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