Washington improves rail reliability by removing the old railcars

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has recorded a significant improvement in train reliability with half as many trains being offloaded in the first three months of 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016. This was the result of the ongoing, accelerated retirement of all 1000- and 4000-series railcars, WMATA’s oldest and least reliable vehicles, combined with a “get well” maintenance program on the transit authority’s other railcars to make them more reliable.
The improvement in railcar reliability is already resulting in more predictable, on-time trips for customers. In the first three months of the year, a total of 218 trains were offloaded (a rate of 2.4 offloads per day), as compared to 433 offloads during the same period in 2016. Metro’s “mean distance between delays,” a metric that tracks how far a railcar travels, on average, before encountering a problem that delays a train, improved nearly 70% – from 48,064 miles between delays in the first quarter of 2016 to 81,451 miles in the first quarter of 2017. Specifically, propulsion-related delays were down 39% and door problems were down 16% during the period.
All 1000-series and 4000-series cars will be retired by the end of the year as new, more reliable 7000-series cars are delivered. To date, 70% of 1000-series cars and nearly half of 4000-series cars have been permanently removed from service. Currently, there are 39 7000-series trains in service, representing about a third of all trains during rush hour.

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