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Metro will perform a “maintenance surge” along parts of the Red Line until next week to correct safety risks similar to the ones that may have caused Saturday’s fire and Wednesday’s arcing-insulator incident near the Friendship Heights station, according to WAMU. The repairs will reportedly take place during off-peak hours and throughout this weekend.
City Desk has reached out to Metro for comment and will update this post when we hear back. The transit agency said earlier this week that a preliminary investigation suggested that a dislodged part of a rail car touching a source of electricity resulted in the fire.
Update 12:10 p.m.: Metro earlier today released a service announcement for “rail and tunnel maintenance” between the Medical Center and Van Ness stations at least today and tomorrow. Red Line trains will single-track between those stations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then from 8 p.m. until closing.
“Passengers at Bethesda, Friendship Heights and Tenleytown, please observe station signs and announcements to board trains on the proper platform,” Metro says. “Train service will depart end-of-line stations approximately every 15 minutes. Additional trains will operate midday between Farragut North and Silver Spring. Passengers should allow additional time when traveling during these times.”
Update 1:45 p.m.: A Metro spokesperson provided additional details on the work being done along the Red Line, in large part to abate water infiltration into the tunnel. This type of problem goes back more than a decade, he said.
The next few days’ repairs will include, among other things: drain clearing, culvert clearing, mud and trash removal, insulator replacement, rail-fastener replacement, leak mitigation, third-rail alignment, and power-cable inspections. Following the maintenance, Metro will conduct thermal imaging tests on rail cars to detect power abnormalities.
A 2004 study found that “excessive water leakage through the walls and water inside [Metro’s] underground facilities [had] damaged mechanical and electrical components in the tunnel, and [had] escalated the deterioration rate of the rail system” along the western part of the Red Line.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery