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Rail News: Safety

WMATA replaces porcelain third-rail insulators


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced late last week that all porcelain third-rail insulators at underground station platforms have been replaced with fiberglass insulators.

The new insulators are safer and more heat resistant, agency officials said in a press release.

WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld accelerated the removal of the porcelain insulators following an arcing insulator incident at the Federal Center Station in southwestern Washington, D.C., in May.

The fiberglass rail insulators support the third rail, which provides 750 volts of electric traction power to WMATA rail cars. Third-rail insulators are installed at intervals of 10 feet along more than 230 miles of Metrorail track, agency officials said.