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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA forms panel to review escalator, elevator rehabs


Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s board Aug. 15 approved the creation of a blue ribbon panel to review its escalator and elevator program.

WMATA is responsible for maintaining, repairing and rehabilitating 572 escalators and 220 elevators, and currently is midway through a six-year plan to rehabilitate some of its older equipment.

"Nearly half of the Metrorail system is between 17 and 26 years of age, and some mechanical failure is inevitable as a result of normal stress, deterioration and wear," said Jim Gallagher, deputy general manager for operations, in a prepared statement.

WMATA Chief Executive Officer Richard White proposed the panel’s creation last month to help ensure the agency’s implementing the best mechanical practices, obtaining appropriate funding and deploying personnel effectively to address the escalators’ and elevators’ maintenance and ensure their reliability.

The panel would comprise managerial, technical and customer service experts who would explore staffing, training, maintenance and response issues, funding strategies, customer service and customer communications.

"We’re looking for other sets of eyes that will look at our elevator-escalator program from top to bottom," said White.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/16/2002