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Metro train delays continue through end of December

WMATA says almost 75% of stations have trains arriving at least every 10-12 minutes.

WASHINGTON — Metro will continue with its reduced service through at least the end of the year, WMATA announced Monday. The delays stem from the removal of all 7000-series cars from service following a derailment on the Blue Line. 

Trains are running every 15 minutes for the Red Line, every 20 minutes for the Green Line and every 30 minutes for Orange, Blue, Yellow and Silver Lines. In a press release, WMATA said almost 75% of stations have trains arriving at least every 10-12 minutes, though the agency admitted it has "no timeline established to return the fleet," citing supply chain challenges and the ongoing safety investigation. 

“As we get more parts, we will return more of the 6000-series railcars to service for our customers during December,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. “While we know service is not as frequent as customers would prefer, we will add each train as it becomes available to help incrementally improve service reliability and frequency.”  

The restoration timeline has continually been pushed back since the Oct. 12 derailment where 200 people had to be evacuated from a Blue Line train, which led to the D.C. Metrorail Safety Commission ordering Metro to pull nearly 60% of its rail fleet from service. 

“We are intentionally not setting deadlines so that safety and good data drive our decisions, but we are mindful that customers want the best service we can provide as soon as we can deliver it, and we are committed to building back up in phases," Wiedefeld said.

RELATED: Metro works to boost rider confidence after derailment with rail yard tour

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the incident could have been "catastrophic." 

"We are fortunate that no fatalities or serious injuries occurred as a result of any of these derailments, but the potential for fatalities and serious injuries, was significant," NTSB Board Chairman Jennifer Homendy said. "This could have resulted in a catastrophic event."

According to Metro, average ridership during the workweek is still 70% lower than before the pandemic. Rush-hour trains currently carry an average of 50-80 passengers per car, compared to 100-120 riders during peak ride times pre-pandemic.

Metro said its return to full service will depend on the results of the ongoing safety tests on the 7000-series trains, and hopes to have an update on restoration timeline for passengers before the end of the year. 

"Metro also is using this time to prepare for the launch of Silver Line phase two service, as testing, training personnel and resources are required to ramp up for the expected start of passenger service in 2022," the agency said in a statement.

RELATED: 'It’s not a holiday. It’s not the pandemic. It's Metro.' | DC shop describes business impact of Metro service disruption

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