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The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) has no technical objections to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) plan to gradually return half of its 7000-series rail cars to passenger service, the transit agency announced yesterday.
WMATA's plan calls for a metered release of no more than 336 rail cars, which will provide an additional 42 trains for more frequent and reliable service. WMATA will pause for 90 days without releasing more cars until all aspects of the new inspection cycles are set and necessary adjustments are made, agency officials said in a press release.
In October, WMATA suspended all of its 7000-series rail cars, or about 60% of its rail fleet, as part of an investigation into a derailment involving the cars on Metrorail's Blue Line.
The 7000-series trains will be gradually reintroduced after inspections, allowing time for WMATA to prepare the cars that have been in storage and to train rail maintenance workers on the new inspection procedures, agency officials said.
Trains will be inspected every seven days to meet WMSC requirements to inspect and rotate rail cars safely into passenger service. Previously, the 7000-series fleet underwent inspections every 90 days.