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Too early for snow? Not at Metro

Snow covers trains at the Brentwood rail yard in February. (WMATA)

{This post will be updated]

Capital Weather Gang blog: Snowmageddon repeat unlikely

Metro has stepped uptyson.gif preparations for snowstorms this fall to try to keep more portions of the system running despite heavy snow, Metro officials said Thursday.

One major goal is to keep the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac open even if a snowfall of over eight inches forces a shutdown of above-ground rail operations, according to Jim Hughes, who is in charge of Metro's snowstorm strategy.

"We want to keep that open longer" to allow for a connection between downtown and the segment of the rail system running between Pentagon and Crystal City stations, Hughes said.

Metro has bought new snow and ice removal equipment and is working more closely with local jurisdictions on plans to remove snow from emergency bus routes, he said.

Metro and other transportation agencies suspended service for several days last winter in the face of record snowfall. Metrorail was forced to retreat to servicing underground stations only, and piles of snow and icy roads made bus operations perilous.

One of the biggest challenges Metro faced with its trains during snowstorms in December and February was that many of them were buried under feet of snow in open rail yards. The transit agency had stored as many trains as officials said was practical in tunnels, but hundreds of trains were in rail yards, where the fleet had to be dug out by Metro employees and contractors. Platforms and tracks also had to be cleared of tons of snow.

Metrorail can operate close to a normal schedule when the snowfall is six inches or less, officials have said. However, once snow accumulates at a greater depth and begins to cover the third rail, which supplies power to trains, Metro says it may suspend above-ground rail service.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

From the Post's archives:

Washington blasted by winds, record-breaking snow

Snowstorm's intensity has D.C. hunkering down

Snow causes Metro ridership to tumble

Metro's Snow & Tell

By Michael Bolden  | October 21, 2010; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, MetroAccess, Metrobus  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Southwest launching BWI-S.C. service
Next: Fatal crashes with teen drivers drop


Metro is always ready to solve last year's problem.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to hear they're donng what it takes to operate in heavier snow conditions.
Is Metro still without a GM, who'd be spearheading this type of planning?

Posted by: Hattrik | October 21, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Metro was also hobbled with poor communication after the major snow storms last year, unable to clearly and accurately communicate basic facts to the public, such as the answers to, "Is Metro running? What services are impacted and where?" However, this is normal all year with Metro...

Posted by: padnactap92 | October 21, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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