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As the second surge of SafeTrack continues, Metro says it’s covered all underground third-rail power sources and electrical connectors known as “jumper cables” throughout the rail system with key insulators called “sealing sleeves.”
In a release on Monday, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced that the project had been completed “ahead of schedule.” The National Transportation Safety Board last June recommended that the transit agency ensure protective sleeves properly contained the flow of electricity, or riders would be at risk of additional smoke incidents like the fatal one at the L’Enfant Plaza station that January. In some cases, the board found, Metro had used electrical tape.
“This is an important step toward addressing not just the NTSB safety recommendation, but toward improving overall safety in the Metrorail system,” Wiedefeld said. “The sealing sleeves help protect the power cables from the intrusion of water and contaminants that may cause electrical damage.”
The general manager sped up the project after a fire at the McPherson Square station forced a systemwide closure in March, Metro says; aboveground power sources and jumper cables will get these sleeves “by the end of the summer.”
Also on Monday, the transit agency reported ridership data related to the current SafeTrack surge that’s shut down a segment of the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines from the Eastern Market to Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue stops:
Ridership this AM at stations east of Minnesota/Benning down about 65% compared to 5/23. Overall system down 4.5%. #wmata #safetrack— Metro (@wmata) June 20, 2016
Riders appeared to compensate for that closure by turning to the Green and Yellow lines, which mostly run north-south:
Greenbelt & College Park stations saw ridership increases of 23% and 33%, respectively. #wmata— Metro (@wmata) June 20, 2016