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The McPherson Square and Foggy Bottom Metro stations accounted for 15 of the 27 urgent safety defects identified by the transit agency that required immediate repairs during the rail-system closure in March. Fourteen of those 15 defects were located at the McPherson Square station—one of them a “show-stopper,” meaning that, had Metro found it prior to the shutdown, it would have suspended service near that station.
During the March 16 shutdown, Metro inspected 600 jumper cables that help feed power to its rails, performing replacements as necessary. The closure followed a smoke incident early on March 14 at the McPherson Square station, resulting in major delays for commuters for the rest of the day. After the shutdown, Metro continued to conduct “non-emergency repairs” at more than 300 rail locations.
The jumper cable inspection and repair plan finalized as of noon on March 17 also offers greater details on the three show-stoppers identified at the McPherson Square, Potomac Avenue, and Foggy Bottom stations:
- McPherson Square: “Cable on ground and damaged cable”
- Potomac Avenue: “Cable damaged, frayed, cut, cracked, water penetration”
- Foggy Bottom: “Damaged cable”
Among the other defects found at the McPherson Square station were damaged boots (electrical connectors), sealing sleeves that were amiss, and multiple damaged cables. “Arcing” happens when water or moisture touches electricity.
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld and Board Chair Jack Evans are scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill this afternoon to discuss the state of the transit system’s safety. According to his prepared testimony, Wiedefeld will say he wants to review whether Metro’s response to the fatal L’Enfant Plaza fire incident in January 2015 was sufficient, given that a similar smoke incident broke out at McPherson Square in March. “I have found systemic issues with regard to track, power, and car maintenance, as well as stations, which must be defined and addressed,” the general manager is expected to tell Congress.
The testimony will follow the release on Tuesday of a top-to-bottom consulting study on Metro’s struggles.
You can see Metro’s breakdown of the shutdown repairs—submitted to federal oversight agencies—below:
Photo by Darrow Montgomery