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Tag Archives: METRO

Anatomy of a Disaster

This is the BIG problem plaguing our subway system in DC. This one does not appear to be a failing power connector. If you look closely towards the bottom left there appears to be a bit of trash, possibly tin foil caught on the insulator holding the 3rd Rail, allowing it to arc to ground and the travelling rail. 700 Volts at 6,000 Amps makes a hell of a boom when it is shorted!

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2016 in News, Uncategorized

 

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Why DC’s Metro Subway System Is Failing

One of the central destructive beliefs of right wingers is that the Government is evil. That and that somehow you can tax cut your way out of debt. That is about as stupid as saying I am jobless, so I don’t need my computer and the Internet. When Republicans control the House, which appropriates all the monies to run the Government – bad things happen. Having an inborn and irrational hatred of DC, that means that cuts and services to the region tend to go to hell in a handbasket.

One of the original designs for the DC Metro included Red Cars

The METRO Subway system is the second largest in the United States behind that of New York City. It carries 800,000 Passengers a day. 53% of those riders are Federal employees, and as such, the system is crucial to the day to day operation of the Federal Government, which actually “leases” all the Federal Grounds, including that of the White House, Capitol, Mall, and Federal Buildings in lieu of paying Taxes for city maintenance of roads, sewer, water, and City Services (Police/Fire). There is no Federal Fire and Rescue, although there are about 25,000 Federal “Police” of different types in the City – making the City have the highest number of Police per capita in the US…And perhaps the world. There are 28 separate police departments in DC, only 4 of which belong to the city.

 

  • DC Metropolitan PD (MPD)
  • US Marshals (DOJ)
  • DC Dept of Corrections
  • DC Public Library Police
  • DC Housing Authority Police
  • Metro Transit Police
  • Washington National Cathedral Police (one of my personal favorites)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Was…
  • DC Protective Services (another interesting agency http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dis…)
  • US Capitol Police
  • US Secret Service – Uniformed Division
  • Supreme Court Police
  • US Park Police
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police
  • US Mint Police
  • Smithsonian Police
  • US State Dept Diplomatic Security Service
  • NCIS
  • Army Criminal Investigative Command
  • USAF Office of Special Investigation
  • US Coast Guard Investigative Service
  • US Postal Inspectors
  • FBI Police
  • Federal Protective Service (DHS)
  • Government Printing Office (GPO) Police
  • ATF
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • DEA
  • Military Police

When there is a Republican majority in the House, there is a constant effort to submarine this system of payments, which includes payments to the METRO System to provide services supporting Federal Agencies. A number of the Subway stops on the METRO are where they are, specifically to serve clusters of Federal Buildings. which doesn’t get into all the special services provided to support Inaugurations, the Capitol security and Homeland.

There has been a Republican majority in the House since 2010

This doesn’t let systemic mismanagement at Metro off the hook – but is part (a BIG part) of the problem.

Congress to D.C.: We won’t ‘bail out’ Metro

House lawmakers made it clear that Congress won’t be cutting big checks to help the struggling transit agency.

Congress won’t be cutting big checks anytime soon to help D.C.’s troubled Metro system cover its operating costs, House lawmakers warned Wednesday.

A number of the 45 year old 1000 Series Cars are still running awaiting replacement

“I tell you: I am not going to bail you out,” shouted Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of a House Oversight transportation panel, during a hearing about the sometimes life-threatening safety and maintenance woes that forced a daylong shutdown of Metro’s rail system last month. He ripped into Metro officials, saying they had millions of dollars in funding on-hand but didn’t spend it as needed.

Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly fired back at Mica for trying to pin Metro’s financial burden on D.C., Maryland and Virginia, which help pay for the system’s operations. He noted the system’s benefit to the federal government.

“He says he doesn’t want a burden on his people,” Connolly said. “Well, I don’t want a burden on mine.”

At the hearing, Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans pleaded with lawmakers to boost their contribution to the beleaguered system’s operations account, which lacks a steady funding stream despite sprawling over three jurisdictions. Evans says the feds should contribute $300 million annually for operational needs.

The new 7000 Series cars feature better seating, more handholds for standing passengers, easily replaceable flooring, and a number of electronic features, Deploying them to replace the 50 year old original cars has been held up by budgeting.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has received congressional appropriations for capital projects since 2008, in addition to grant money from the Federal Transit Administration for upgrades, but typically gets no funding for running the system aside from fare revenues and its state and local government support.

Mica said Metro’s unliquidated balance as of mid-March was $783 million. WMATA officials couldn’t immediately verify that number.

Local lawmakers have generally trod carefully when talking about Congress’ role in boosting WMATA’s accounts, saying the agency should demonstrate a better safety record and command of its finances before getting more money from them. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, has been key to securing $150 million annually since 2008 for capital projects at Metro, but the money can’t be used for operating expenses.

“When you do the math, your United States Senate and the taxpayers of America have provided over $1 billion for Metro,” Mikulski said Wednesday at a meeting with Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld before the House hearing. “So we not only want to know if we’ll be getting our money’s worth, but we really do care about the constituents and the riders — about what is going on.”

Evans said Metro’s high operating costs are in part due to its size — it’s the second-largest transit system in the United States. If Congress doesn’t increase its commitment to Metro, he said, “next time something happens, I’m blaming it on you guys.”

Referring to Mica’s complaint about nearly $800 million of unspent money, Wiedefeld said Metro can be under contract to receive major purchases — such as new buses or rail cars — and the cash doesn’t immediately flow out if, for example, it’s still waiting to receive the products. So the money has been obligated for specific projects.

“I just would urge you quickly to help dispel this myth of, you’re sitting on a lot of capital and you don’t know what to do with it,” Connolly said.

 

 

 

 

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DC Metro System Shut Down

How bad is DC’s Metro?

They are shutting down for 24 hrs, over a workday…to “inspect the system”.

That leaves approximately 800,000 daily workday passengers SOL.

I don’t even want to think about what the impact of putting 500,000 more cars on the road tomorrow (3/16/16) will be. The impact to traffic will be worse than the blizzard dumping 3 ft of snow on the area just two short months ago. Since 53% of the riders on Metro are government workers, it may well wind up that there is a Federal Government shutdown as well.

Photo taken inside a DC Metro car during the incident at L’Enfant Station when an electrical feed to the train shorted out

The system has been plagued with numerous problems, both self inflicted, and by the fact that much of the infrastructure is 30-40 years old. Due to the self-inflicted problems the company is not able to keep pace with the repair work necessary to renovate the system. In particular, the electrical system is ancient on the older lines is beyond it’s projected lifecycle causing about a half dozen major incidents in the last year, with a passenger fatality on a stuck train due to smoke inhalation. Just Monday this week, another electrical failure stopped traffic on the system’s busiest tunnel system, shared by 3 lines. One of the lines is still not fully operational.

BTx3 is working from home tomorrow.

This is the section of tunnel which arced and caught fire last year resulting in a passenger fatality, just outside the L’Enfant Metro Station.

Sources: Metrorail Will Shut Down All Day Wednesday for Emergency Investigation of Equipment

The entire D.C. Metro system will shut down for 24 hours starting at midnight and lasting for the entire day Wednesday for an emergency investigation, two sources tell News4.

Metro officials are expected to announce at 4 p.m. Tuesday that they need to inspect as many as 1,200 pieces of equipment, as News4’s Tom Sherwood was first to report.

A cable fire early Monday caused delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines throughout the day.

This is an abandoned trolley tunnel under DC, built back in the 1949

This is a current Metro tunnel on the Red Line – the oldest operating line.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in You Know It's Bad When...

 

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DC Metro Crash – II

6/24 –  Train Operator Apparently Hit Brakes Before Crash

The operator of the Metro train that slammed into a stationary train in front of it apparently had activated the emergency brakes in a failed effort to stop before the accident, federal officials said yesterday as they searched for the cause of Monday’s Red Line wreck that killed nine and injured 80.

Debbie Hersman of the National Transportation Safety Board said the emergency brake button, known as the “mushroom,” was depressed, and the steel rails showed evidence that the brakes were engaged. Investigators also said the striking train was in automatic mode, which means onboard computers should have controlled its speed and stopped it before it got too close to the stationary train.

In addition, Metro sources said, the first two cars of that train were two months overdue for scheduled maintenance of some braking components.

Taken together, experts say these facts point to several possible scenarios: The operator activated the brakes too late; the computers that are supposed to stop a train from getting too close to another train faltered; the train’s brakes failed; or some combination of those. Some passengers on the striking train have said that they never felt the train slow down.

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Posted by on June 23, 2009 in News

 

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DC Metro Crash

Last night, during rush hour two METRO trains on the Red Line in DC suffered the worst crash in the DC METRO rail system’s history. It was the first major accident on the subway system in over 25 years, and only the second involving fatalities in the system’s history.

At least 7 people were killed and over 70 were injured.

Mayor Adrian Fenty announced Tuesday that seven had died in the crash along a part of Metro system track that carries passengers from the District of Columbia into suburban Maryland. The District of Columbia Fire Department Web site announced early Tuesday morning that three bodies had been found in addition to the six fatalities reported earlier.

METRO is one of  the crown jewels of of the DC Metropolitan area,

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Posted by on June 23, 2009 in News

 

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