On Tuesday, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (“Metro”) took all of its 3000-series cars out of service after receiving a report that a car door had slid open on an Orange Line train on Sunday. According to The Washington Post, Metro first became aware of the incident after a rider posted a video of the open door on social media on Monday, and later confirmed the malfunction with camera footage at the Dunn Loring station.
Metro’s General Manager, Paul Wiedefeld, said in a news conference on Tuesday that the removal of the 3000-series cars was temporary, and that Metro was unsure of why the car’s safety system, which is equipped with automatic notification and breaking, did not activate immediately when the car door opened. On Wednesday, Metro announced that it had found the cause of the malfunction, but provided no further details before clearing the 3000-series cars to return to service.
The 3000-series cars were first put into service in the mid-1980s, and have since been refurbished. Today, the 3000-series cars make up approximately 15% of Metro’s fleet. In 2015, Metro removed approximately 100 of its 4000-series trains after a similar door malfunction. The 4000-series trains were eventually retired in 2017.
The removal of the 3000-series cars came less than a week before Metro’s scheduled three-month closure of six stations on the Blue and Yellow Lines. After Tuesday’s removal, Metro reported that the Yellow and Silver lines were largely unaffected, but that trains on the Red, Orange, Blue, and Green lines were spaced out two to five minutes longer than usual. Riders also reported more crowding.
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