Advisory: May 6-8 Weekend Trackwork

We’re testing a new type of post on our website detailing service-impacting track work. The post will be updated before, during, and after the trackwork period to include updated information and media describing the work being done, as well as how the work impacted trains. Please feel free to provide feedback on this type of product on our Twitter or Facebook pages.

What

 

Performance/Schedule Adherence – How did trains adhere to the schedule?

  • Details of how trains adhered to the listed schedules will be added here at the conclusion of the track work period.
  • Silver Line trains started turning back at Ballston at 12:07AM on Saturdaywknd-greenwknd-yellowwknd-silverwknd-orangewknd-redwknd-blue

 

Scheduling – When and where are trains running?

  • Early opening, all lines:
    • Metrorail will open two hours early, at 5 a.m., on Saturday, May 7, for riders traveling to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
  • Red Line Trains operate between Shady Grove & Glenmont every 18 minutes
    • Additional trains from 9AM-9PM between Farragut North & Silver Spring
    • Trains single-track between Medical Center and Friendship Heights.
    • All trains at Bethesda will board on the Shady Grove platform due to the single-tracking; watch PIDS & in-station announcements for more.
  • Orange Line Buses replace trains between Stadium-Armory and Minnesota Ave 12:01AM Saturday until system closing Sunday.
    • Trains operate between Vienna & Stadium-Armory every 15 minutes
    • Trains operate between Minnesota Avenue & New Carrollton every 15 minutes
  • Blue Line Buses replace trains between Stadium-Armory and Benning Rd 12:01AM Saturday until system closing Sunday.
    • Trains operate between Franconia-Springfield & Stadium-Armory every 15 minutes
      Trains operate between Benning Road & Largo Town Center every 15 minutes
  • Silver Line Trains every 10 minutes between Wiehle-Reston East & Ballston only | 7:00AM Saturday until closing Sunday
  • Yellow Line Trains every 15 minutes | 10:00PM Friday until closing Sunday. Trains single-track between Fort Totten and Prince George’s Plaza
    • All trains will operate to/from Mt. Vernon Sq rather than Fort Totten.
  • Green Line Trains every 24* minutes | 10:00PM Friday until closing Sunday. Trains single-track between Fort Totten & Prince George’s Plaza

 

Scheduled Work – What’s happening?

  • Red Line intense maintenance to address water infiltration, drainage, mud removal and other effects of water infiltration.
    • Track work in this area in the past has included insulator replacement, drain cleaning, removing dirt, mud, and other debris, and tunnel leak mitigation.
  • Orange Line aerial structure and platform rehabilitation.
    • WMATA has been working on the platform at Minnesota Ave for years now. Link, Link, another Link.
  • Yellow LineGreen Line Switch replacement and communication cable installation.

 

Track Work Photos/Imagery – Can I see what happened?

  • Photos and media of track work will be added here when received.

 

 

* The Green Line train schedule has been updated to reflect trains operating every 24 minutes instead of every 15 as previously noted in WMATA’s trackwork advisory.

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Statement on WMATA SafeTrack Plan 

May 6, 2016

We at Rail Transit OPS Group support WMATA GM/CEO Paul Wiedefeld’s recommended SafeTrack program to address long overdue rail infrastructure maintenance. While we understand this will cause massive disruptions to the average commuter, Metro is making available alternative options during the majority of the disruptions, and commuter rail options such as MARC and VRE are always available as well. We will remind the public of all these options as the time approaches. What is important to remember is that it took over a decade for the system to deteriorate to this level; to return to a state of good repair in one year while enduring some tough travels will be well worth it in the long run.

Recommendation 16.2 – Adjustment to WMATA Station Dwell Procedures 

May 4, 2016

Agency: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

Area of Concern: Current WMATA station servicing, or “dwell times,” are inadequate to properly service a station, resulting in a variety of issues occurring including:

> Train Operators not verifying that doors are clear when initiating the door closing cycle (URGENT)

> Passenger boarding & alighting cycle incompletion

> Multiple attempts to cycle train doors closed that can, in select cases, lead to a train being offloaded and removed from service

> On newer 7000-series railcars, automatic announcements being terminated prior to completion

Current Procedure: Once the train is properly stopped or berthed at the head end of a station platform, the train operator is to open the cab window on the platform side, wait five seconds, then initiate the door opening process. (This five second wait period was implemented by WMATA management several years ago after a string of wrong side door openings.) Once boarding and alighting are complete, the operator initiates the door closing process and is supposed to verify all the doors have closed.

WMATA train doors can be operated in three modes:

> Fully Automatic: The automatic train control (ATC) system opens the doors once a train is properly berthed, and they are commanded to close after a pre-selected dwell time. This mode has not been used in revenue passenger service in Metro’s history.

> Auto/Manual: This was the primary method of door operation until approximately 2008/2009. In this mode, the doors open once the train is properly berthed, and the train operator initiates the door closing process. This mode was suspended due to reported radio frequency interference (radio is how the doors are commanded open) and has yet to be addressed. This mode was to have been reinstated in the summer of 2015.

> Fully Manual: This is the current mode of door operations, where the train operator initiates both the door opening and closing cycles.

Recommendation: 

1. Discontinue the five second wait to initiate the door open cycle. To verify that the correct side is being initiated, the train operator can physically tap the end gate.

2. Once the doors have cycled open, require a minimum of 25 seconds before the door closing cycle can be initiated in order to allow the passenger boarding and alighting cycle to complete in the majority of instances. This also allows the automatic announcements on 7000-series trains to fully cycle, and reduces the number of times doors are reopened or recycled, which will reduce the number of door malfunctions.

3. Once the door closing cycle has been initiated and completed, the train operator must visually remain looking out the cab window for five seconds following extinguishing of all exterior door indicator lights before closing the cab window. In automatic or ATO operation, the train will begin to move once all the doors are confirmed closed. While under ATO, the train operator can secure the side cab window as long as the train has begun moving and there are no concerns on the platform.

Statement on WMATA Blue Line Train Misrouted to Court House (16-0133)

EVENT SUMMARY 

Incident Location: WMATA Rosslyn Station

Incident Date: April 28, 2016

Active Incident Timeframe: 07:31AM – 07:40AM EDT

Incident Category: Train Misrouting

At approximately 7:33 AM EDT, on Thursday, April 28, 2016 WMATA Blue Line Train 401 departing the Rosslyn station en route to Franconia-Springfield took the incorrect junction heading toward stations serviced by the Orange/Silver Lines. The train operator stopped the train as soon as it began to take the incorrect route and contacted the Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC).

Due to a train arriving directly behind Train 401 (meaning it was unable to return to Rosslyn), the train was offloaded and removed from service at Court House and moved to West Falls Church Rail Yard for inspection. It is unclear why the train picked up the incorrect routing and was allowed to proceed towards Vienna instead of the expected Franconia-Springfield station. A preliminary contributing factor is operator loss of situational awareness.

At no time were any passengers in danger due to the incident since the Automatic Train Protection feature was still fully functional. Train 401 was being operated in manual mode at the time.

As WMATA trains approach junctions there are two to three primary methods to verify that the correct route is selected. In the Rosslyn situation the primary method is the interlocking (switch) signal, which displays different indications based on the route programmed. The second would be the overhead sign that flashes to notify which train is approaching. The third method is the train operator scanning the  tracks ahead to verify that switches are correctly set prior to crossing them.

 

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Rail Transit OPS Group is an independent joint venture focused on monitoring and analyzing operations of rail transit agencies and can be found on Facebook and Twitter

 

Recommended Solution 16.1 – Replacing Use of Train Horn With Yard Horn Within Station Limits on WMATA 

Recommended Solution 16.1

RE: WMATA Operations

Recomendation 16.1 Area of Concern: Use of Train Horn within station limits to announce train adjustment

Currently WMATA procedure is to sound two short blasts of the train horn prior to initiating movement. This may result in startled passengers on the platform, and precludes the ability of passengers in cars two thru six; or eight from hearing the horn, thus resulting in loss of passenger balance and potential injury.

Our recommendation is to require that train operators utilize two short blasts of the yard horn/intercar buzzer to announce movement of train within station limits to a berthing position (this is NOT recommended to replace non-revenue trains dead-heading thru stations using the train horn). Utilizing the yard horn allows for both passengers aboard the train and on the platform to hear the buzzer indicating the train is about to move. This recommendation can be incorporated into the MSRPH (Metrorail Safety Rules & Procedures Handbook) as 3.169.1

 

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Rail Transit OPS Group is an independent joint venture focused on monitoring and analyzing operations of rail transit agencies and can be found on Facebook and Twitter