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Metro Board Approves Contract To Fix Doors on Oldest Rail Cars

Metro's board approved a $638,000 contract on Thursday to repair malfunctioning electronic hardware on every door of one-quarter of its rail cars.

Assistant General Manager Dave J. Kubicek, who runs rail operations, said the overall project will take a little longer than a year, but he said that would be enough time to install the hardware fix and modify it. He said the agency is also modifying the rest of its fleet to prevent doors from opening on the wrong side.

Since April 2008, Metro train operators have manually opened and closed train doors at every stop. The decision to put humans in control came after a malfunction in the automatic train control system caused doors to open on the wrong side four times in 100 days.

"This is going to be installed to prevent that," Kubicek said.

The 1000 series cars, more than 30 years old, are the oldest in Metro's fleet. The National Transportation Safety Board has said the cars have a tendency to fold into themselves, like a telescope, during a crash. The first car of the striking train in the June 22 Red Line crash that killed nine and injured 80 was a 1000 series car. It compressed by two-thirds.

Metro plans to phase out 1000 series cars, which make up more than 25 percent of its 1,126-car fleet. Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said earlier this week that the plan to phase out the cars does not eliminate the need to fix the problem.

By James Hohmann  |  September 24, 2009; 2:09 PM ET
 | Tags: Metro, Series 1000  
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I have read and seen a lot stupid things done by boards and companies, but this one has to be the dumbest and irresponsible decision in the history of Washington, D.C.

Posted by: Sincear202 | September 24, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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