Skip to comments.Wheel Falls Off DC Metrorail Train!
Posted on 12/20/2011 10:30:32 AM PST by Timber Rattler
For anyone in the DC area who relies on metrorail, a wheel fell off one of the trains on the Orange Line this morning and the entire system is snarled, with people still stuck on the train. Those who made it off are reporting that Metro still made them pay exit fare and somehow find their own alternative transportation.
(Excerpt) Read more at unsuckdcmetro.blogspot.com ...
Oh the irony.
Geez...I used to ride the metro all the time back in the late 70’s when I was in college. I thought it was great back then. Now when I sometimes take the train to a Nats game it seems to me that they’re still using the very same trains I rode on 35 years ago!
So... the wheels are finally coming of of Metro literally as well as figuratively. I’m surprised it took this long.
That’s because they are!
Of course. Metro's riders are subjects of the State . . . not customers.
Willie Green is deeply saddened.
LOL...I thought so!
Are you out yet?
Rode Metro for a few years - never had any problems.
Finally switched to an Express Commuter (Dillon) bus from Silver Spring to DC. Cheaper, cleaner, no claustrophobia, plus passengers & driver were like family.
"Metro press conference at 3:00 p.m."
Yeah, I’m lucky since I didn’t have to go downtown today. A bunch of my co-workers are screwed though.
Why wouldn’t they be? Rail Car’s life expectancy is 50+ years.. you refurb the inside from time to time and rebuild the few mechanical systems on them, but they are very simple and heavy duty, they are supposed to last for 50 or more years.
Chee, kind of a metaphor for the whole Obama administration ...
When I went to High School in NYC in the 1960’s, the old Metropolitan Avenue El had rolling stock from the 1890’s in service. It was the oldest rolling stock in the Western Hemisphere, even the Cubans had newer trains.
They were sparse, but except for the occasional engine fire in mid-August, they ran pretty well.
sent this on to Rush. i figure he’d find this hilarious
“You picked a fine time to leave me Loose Wheel”
Sound like this is something like what we could expect from a national health service.
And the world economy.
I have no trouble believing that, 70 years for a rail car is not unheard of.
Pittsburgh Only relatively recently (last decade or so)
finally retired some of its old trolley cars, because the price of refurbing them finally got too high. But they were easily dated to the 40s and 50s is not older.
“...made them pay exit fare ...”
“I’m not PAYING for your broke@$$ train!”
SLAM! as I exit....protected by the hundreds in my wake.
not surprised. Metro is a sinking craphole and will cost a lot more lives before it gets better.
The cars are ancient by any standard, the stations were designed to look good in a photo shoot and win awards but they are an accident waiting to happen. Between the busted elevators, busted escalators, cracking floors, broken turnstiles, broken fare machines, leaking stations, wilding incidents, burglary, armed robbery and assault, I’m surprised people still ride it.
I rode it for 15 years and you could see these problems all around you but it never seemed to change. Like most municipal projects, WMATA has just become an organization that distributes retirement and health benefits and not what it’s named.
Here is what probably happened. The maintenance shift was light due to everyone taking holiday this month. This job was either put off or just extended past it’s time or completed by someone using medicinal MJ. The train was either too short (too few cars) for the run or just overloaded because a previous train was unable to accommodate passengers and there was too much stress on the brakes.
In other words, they were lucky lives were not lost right before a holiday due to their inability to do anything.
There’s a bit more to them than that. Door opening and closing systems, HVAC, software, etc. are high maintenance systems. When you get to the motors, trucks, etc. if you get fifty years ... you’re doing fantastic. They are not simple as you as think. If you’d ever seen one built, you’d know. There’s a huge amount of testing involved.
Metro’s big problem was choosing a manufacturer that didn’t have a long history in the business. Even with one of the biggest Bombardier (Adtranz) you’re still making a big leap of faith.
Typically that is a low margin business. Check Bombardier’s stock price pre-Adtranz and post-Adtranz if you don’t believe me. Diamler didn’t own Adtranz long before they dumped it. Metro’s management picked someone even less qualified.
Now that's funny !!! That's why I hate to ride the Metro - fear of getting stuck in the tunnel ... (and I ride the Orange line, when I ride)
50 years if properly maintained and designed, which the ROHR 1000 series are not. That’s why the 1000 series cars in the 2010 red line crash were demolished and the 4000 series were still in one piece. As far as the maintainance goes Metro can’t properly maintain escalators let alone the cars.
"Nes stop, Cleveland Par', doze opin on da lef'... dooooong, dooong..."
The legendary MTA “Q” cars. Started out as open platform Brooklyn Elevated Railway cars. Technology that predated flight but was the working definition of “bulletproof”.
It’s definitely in steady decline - I rode the Orange Line from New Carrolton to Ballston for a year, hated it - 50% of cars with broken AC in the summer (A Washington Post columnist measured 100 degrees in one - you had to immediately see if you got a blast of cold air when the door opened, and then if you didn’t try to run to another car.)
Doors didn’t open at my stop once, had to go to the next stop and come back.
I then drove for a year, hated that, and then I just moved to Ballston living in the same block as my job.
I basically will not take it at all anymore - not even to go downtown on weekends, because the trains are 19 minutes apart and I can’t stand waiting that long.
You picked a fine time to leave me Loose Wheel
I used to hate playing that song! Kenny Rogers whiny, grunting singing style was just grating!
Post of the day award!
In any event, when the train stopped he had to walk the tunnel to the Smithsonian stop, a couple of hundred yards. When they got there they asked about bus service. The Metro employees were honest, they said that they needed at least a half an hour to figure out what to do, apparently they were moving out a bunch of busses from the depot, and were making plans on the fly. He gave up and took another train to Greenbelt where co-workers picked him up.
I had the unfortunate task of getting back out, after Metro employees at LaEnfant put us on the wrong transfer bus, I walked from the Reagan Building to the Capitol South station to get out of the mess downtown. Trains to New Carrolton were slow, but running. They announced that things were fixed by 2 or so. The real mess was between Federal Center SW and Federal Triangle.
Some of the newer designs going back ten years was considering making the HVAC moduler. When something failed you simply removed the entire module from the roof and loaded another one. That would have provided much better turnaround. You could use different levels of technician support to do different aspects of the work. R&R would be simpler than troubleshooting and actual repair.
Door mechanisms are probably the weakest link in designing a reliable car. Those get cycled a lot. Metro mgt screwed up so bad they didn’t get an English copy of the software. IIRC the code was in Italian. When they tried to do some of the work themselves, they got a big surprise.
High level mgt is entirely at the mercy of the worker bees. You don’t buy cars often enough to build any real expertise. Simply knowing what didn’t work before often isn’t enough.
I’ve seen incidents where the company and the authority’s QA inspectors bought off on a car and OKed shipment. When it arrived, the receiving inspection then found lots of issues.
For a company that sources worldwide you can get some interesting results. In one incident just one of a car’s lift attachments broke at the weld to the body resulting in a nearly finished car being demolished when it fell to the shop floor while it was being moved between work stations.
I worked for Wabtec (what started out way back in the day as Westinghouse Air Brake)
I live just outside a town that changed its name to Carnegie, so he would put his railyard here.
I am not a guru on trains but I am not ignorant of them either. Yes, light rail is a bit different, but rail is designed and built for heavy duty long term use.
With proper maintenance and occassional refurbishment, 50 years for a rail frame is not atypical. Yes, you can’t just ignore it for 50 years, but properly maintained, 50 years is not outrageous at all.
I'm very familiar with Westinghouse's contribution to the transportation industry. Westinghouse sold WABCO (Ansaldo) and the people mover division long ago before it became ABC and sold most of the old industrial divisions. AFAIK, Ansaldo still operates in the Pittsburgh area. The people mover division went through a couple changes of ownership. Last I heard it belonged to Bombardier's Adtranz group which is also located near Pittsburgh.
"On the same day Metro released a progress report on its six-year rebuilding effort, a Metro board member revealed that the transit authority was aware of problems with brake parts on its 5000 series rail cars six years ago but cancelled repair plans for financial reasons."