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Live Blogging the Metro Press Conference

Dr. Gridlock will be live blogging a Metro press conference set to begin at 3:30 p.m. in which Metro General Manager John Catoe will announce steps being taken as a result of last week's accident on the Red Line.

Refresh this page for updates.

Live video stream will be available here.

4:11 p.m.: The press conference is over. More from Catoe's statemetn: Trains are running at 35 mph on the Red Line -- the entire line -- to help regulate the throw of trains. The crash zone is the problem. The trains are moving extra slowly through there.

4:07 p.m.: Personal feelings? Catoe says in answer to a question, I haven't had a chance to focus on that. Time for it later.

4:03 p.m. On July 4, all trains will be operating in manual, but there will be enough trains, Catoe says. The Smithsonian Station will be open for the first time in many years.

3:55 p.m.: Once the investigation is completed at the site of the Red Line train crash, Catoe says, then he will review the 35 mph speed limit on the Red Line.

All trains will stay in manual control until Catoe and his top rail officials are sure that it's safe to return to automatic control -- whether that takes a month, a year or two years, Catoe says.

Manual control for an extended period would not be unusual, he points out. A few years ago, when Metro had a problem with its relays, Metro trains operated on manual control for two years.

3:40 p.m. Already, Catoe says, 80 percent of the 1000 Series cars have been shifted the middle of trains. The rest will take a few more days.

But Metro did decide to replace these oldest cars in the system, he said. The 7000 Series has been approved. Metro is reviewing bids from potential manufacturers. The first of those will be used on the Metrorail line extension through Tysons. Earliest award would be in early 2010. [This was updated, after a commenter noted that the cars have not been "ordered" as I said originally.]

More? "We are ready to go," Catoe says. "All we need is the money."

He says Metro's managers have racked their brains to make these cars safer. But it's not like a consumer buying a car, he said. Metro can't take advantage ov every upgrade in technology.

Catoe says Metro has checked 65 percent of the track circuits and found no problems with any of them. Metro is doing these checks because the National Transportation Safety Board found an anomoly with one circuit in the crash zone. This could have led the automatic train control system to fail to recognize the stopped train.

It may take two or three more days to check the rest of the circuits.

By Mike McPhate  |  June 30, 2009; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Next: Manual Train Operation To Continue, Catoe Says


7000 series have not been ordered, a manufacturer has not yet been chosen.

Posted by: Mainland | June 30, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

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