60 percent of DC’s Metro line expected to be out of service Monday after derailment

Washington, D.C.’s Metro rail line will only operate at about 40 percent capacity on Monday as part of an ongoing investigation into a recent derailment, according to a late Sunday evening announcement.

“ALERT: As part of the investigation into the Blue Line derailment, Metro is holding out of service all of its 7000-series railcars, which is about 60% of its rail fleet. Without these rail cars, Metro will operate about 40 trains tomorrow,” the commuter service noted in a tweet around 7 p.m. local time.

“This will allow only a basic service pattern on all lines, departing about every 30 minutes. As Metro continues to work closely w/ the WMSC & NTSB and more information develops, we will update the public about service for the remainder of this week,” the commuter noted in a follow-up tweet.

Several D.C.-area residents remarked on social media that the outage would essentially cripple commuter traffic into the city Monday morning.

The announcement follows the derailment of a Blue Line train last Tuesday near the Arlington Cemetery Station, according to the Washington Post, which added that the incident took place around 4:50 p.m.

“Metro rail controllers in the Rail Operations Control Center received a report of a disabled Blue Line train in the tunnel between the Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations in Northern Virginia, Metro spokesman Ian Jannetta said. Metro officials said the train, a 7000-series train that is one of Metro’s latest models, partially slipped off the tracks,” the Post added.

According to Metro officials, there were about 300-400 riders on the train at the time. About 190 people had been evacuated by 7:45 p.m., and one person was taken to an area hospital as a precaution, over anxiety issues.

“The WMSC said on Sunday that an NTSB investigation into the derailment found multiple axles in the 7000-series train’s railcars were out of compliance with manufacturer specifications,” the Washington Examiner noted.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said two of its investigators would be working with WMATA and others to determine the cause of the derailment.

“NTSB will investigate the Oct. 12 derailment of a WMATA blue line train near Arlington Cemetery station in VA. Two NTSB railroad accident investigators will coordinate with WMATA officials & Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, WMATA’s oversight agency, in their investigation,” the federal agency tweeted.

The Metro is the third-largest commuter train service in the country, according to Governing.com, which added that WTAMA had historically suffered from a funding deficit until it was taken over by the federal government in 2015 and given dedicated funding, which greatly improved service and dramatically reduced derailments and other accidents.

DCist.com reported in November that WMATA pulled all 6000-series railcars from service after a pair of separations.

“The 6000-series action was ordered due to commonalities with an incident in October in which two cars of a Red Line train became detached from a train outside Union Station,” Metro said.

Jon Dougherty


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