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Speed Restrictions On DC Metro After Broken Tracks Found Outside Work Zone

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

Deteriorating rail ties outside the current D.C. Metro work zone are forcing officials to impose speed restrictions on trains for seven to 10 days.

Officials with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) put a 15 mile per hour speed limit in place Monday for blue line trains running between the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations and for blue and yellow line trains running between the King Street and Braddock Road stations.

The crumbling rail ties are on tracks that fell outside of previous SafeTrack work zones, but it is unclear why officials did not identify the track issues earlier, reports The Washington Post.

Deteriorating rail ties played a role on the July 29 derailment of a silver line train outside the East Falls Church station in Virginia. Following the incident Metro officials reworked elements of their repair plan to address similar track conditions throughout the system.

Federal inspectors are concerned over the quality of current D.C. Metro repairs. In roughly 30 reports from federal inspectors, officials documented 130 track defects found in areas already “fixed” by Metro’s SafeTrack program, such as loose fasteners. Inspectors found other track infrastructure in “very poor” condition during their reviews of the completed work.

Orange line trains traveling between the Vienna and West Falls Church stations will single track for 42 days for Surge 9 SafeTrack repairs beginning Thursday. D.C. Metro officials are warning riders at the Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations to anticipate large disruptions to regular service throughout the maintenance work.

Officials will also conduct added repairs every weekend through the surge, which ends Oct. 26.

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