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WMATA completes $307 million in capital projects in FY2012’s first half


Yesterday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) provided an update on its long-term rebuilding program: The agency spent $307 million on capital projects during the first six months of fiscal-year 2012.

The projects ranged from replacing rail cars, switches, rail and track components to rehabilitating station platforms, escalators and elevators, WMATA officials said in a prepared statement.

The major expenditures are showing results in the form of improved rail and bus service reliability, greater availability of escalators and improved safety, they said. For example, delays attributable to track circuit problems declined more than 75 percent in the fourth quarter of FY2011 compared with the previous quarter.

Among the projects highlighted:

• 14 escalators and two elevators were replaced or rehabilitated at a cost of $11 million. During the next six months, WMATA plans to rehabilitate or replace 13 more escalators, as well as four elevators.
• More than 60 track circuit modules were replaced, a key step in restoring automatic train operations.
• 10,432 rail fasteners, 10,785 crossties, 5,491 insulators, 7.5 miles of running rail, 16 turnouts have been installed.

WMATA also is working to complete necessary projects to meet National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations, such as finalizing the design of the new 7000-series cars to replace the 1000-series fleet.

This summer, WMATA will complete the installation of Guarded No. 8 switches throughout the system to comply with another NTSB recommendation, agency officials said.

In the second half of FY2012, WMATA plans to continue rebuilding efforts with projects such as station enhancements at Largo Town Center and King Street, platform rehabilitation at Deanwood and Minnesota Avenue, and the rehabilitation of the Western bus garage.

The proposed FY2013 capital budget accelerates efforts to rebuild the system with nearly $997 million in investment projected, WMATA officials said. The spending is part of a six-year, $5 billion capital improvement program the agency is advancing to bring the system into a state of good repair and enhance safety.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/9/2012