WMATA reports increase in fleet reliability, but …

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WASHINGTON — The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority this week announced that trains are operating with with twice the reliability as a year ago.

Among the most annoying incidents that Washington Metro riders have to endure are trains breaking down in the middle of a run, forcing passengers to get off and wait for the next train. While this has happened on 218 trains, an average of 2.4 times a day, in the first three months of 2017, officials say that's half the number in the same period of 2016.

Officials cite two reasons for the service improvement. First, 1000-series and 4000-series cars are being removed and scrapped. The 40-year-old 1000s are Metro's original cars; the 4000s have been WMATA's biggest maintenance headaches. So far 70 percent of the 1000s and half the 4000s have been taken out of service.

WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld also credits the SafeTrack maintenance program that is increasing the on-time performance of the system. SafeTrack is scheduled to end in June, when WMATA will begin Back2Good, an accelerated maintenance and repair program for all rail vehicles.

While WMATA reports progress, safety glitches still make headlines. The Washington Post reported that a 3000-series car derailed when it hit a wheel chock that had been left on the tracks. The derailment happened at its Alexandria, Va., yard when the car was being moved out of a workshop. No one was injured.

While a WMATA spokesman called the incident “really minor,” the newspaper noted a Federal Transit Administration report last year that criticized Metro for improper use of chocks and hand brakes when storing trains.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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