Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said he is taking on the problem that causes a majority of Metrorail delays: the trains.
“Our goal for 2017 is to reduce train car-related delays by 25 percent and track related delays by 50 percent,” Wiedefeld said at a public hearing before a joint committee hearing Friday in the House of Representatives.
One way he plans to reach that goal is continue to increase the number of Metro’s newest railcars, the 7000 series.
Metro still uses the 1000 series trains, the same train cars Metro used when it opened 40 years ago.
Metro Board member Kathy Porter, who represents Montgomery County, said she is confident Wiedefeld will fulfill his delay reduction plan.
“I think this is a real positive step, and you know Paul Wiedefeld doesn’t promise things he can’t deliver, so this is a pretty good promise,” Porter said.
Porter said Wiedefeld’s leadership as general manager contributed to the new trains arriving faster.
“We have been accepting new 7000 series cars over the past several years,” Porter said. “Under Paul Wiedefeld, the pace at which we have received new cars has accelerated.”
The National Transportation Safety Board instructed Metro to remove all 1000 series cars from service June 22, 2009, after two trains collided and one drove on top of the other, killing nine.
Metro is in the process of replacing the cars.
The worst performing cars, however, are not the 1000 series but the 4000 series. The latter has the shortest amount of time between breakdowns.
Wiedefeld recently ordered the 4000 series cars be “bellied” between cars of other series cars citing a risk of the cars receiving incorrect speed limits.
Prior to that, Metro workers inspected the 4000 series trains because management was concerned that the doors were malfunctioning.
After SafeTrack ends, Wiedefeld his next initiative to improve Metro will focus on preventative maintenance. It’s called “Back 2 Good.”