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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA advances infrastructure, security improvement projects


Last week, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) board preliminarily approved two major projects and announced the agency will receive $78.3 million in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to enhance security.

The board’s planning, development and real estate committee preliminarily approved a second and third system infrastructure and rehabilitation program for the Metrorail system.

The second program involves overhauling the Blue and Orange lines between the Stadium-Armory and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations. Projected to begin in early 2010, the $380 million project will focus on 24 miles of mainline track and 20 stations. Work includes upgrading traction power, automatic train control and communications; replacing tunnel lights, rehabilitating tunnel ventilation and fire stand pipes, upgrading public address and closed-circuit video systems; replacing and rehabilitating air conditioning and ventilation equipment; and rehabilitating elevators and escalators.

The third program involves rehabilitation work at the Alexandria, Brentwood and New Carrollton yards. Slated to conclude by 2012’s end, the $127.7 million program would include replacing building equipment; upgrading the public address systems; upgrading traction power and tie-breaker substations; and repairing the operations and maintenance facilities, service and inspections shops, and track inspection facilities.

At a Sept. 24 meeting, WMATA’s board will vote on whether the agency should initiate contracts for the two programs. Contracts could be awarded next summer.

Meanwhile, WMATA will use the DHS grants to help fund additional police officers and explosive detecting canine units, surveillance cameras on rail cars, chemical detection equipment, radio communications and emergency training. The funding comes from various DHS grant programs, including the National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program, State Homeland Security Program, Transit Security Grant Program and Urban Area Security Initiative.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/14/2009