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Metro buying rail inspection vehicle

To increase the frequency of its rail inspections, Metro has selected a company to construct a special rail car designed to evaluate the track conditions of the 106-mile Metrorail system.trackvehicle.jpg

Ensco, an engineering firm that specializes in rail technologies, will begin work on the $7.8 million custom track geometry vehicle, which will be ready by fall 2012 after testing, agency officials said.

The track geometry vehicle would allow Metro to perform inspections not only at night when the tracks are closed but also during normal day operations, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.

"We would be able to do any type of inspection any time we want to," he said. The vehicle would be the first of its kind for Metro and would be "extremely valuable," he added.

The vehicle would help identify which areas need immediate attention because of cracks and other rail flaws.

Currently, Metro uses outside contractors to conduct track geometry testing several times a year. Inspectors also visually inspect rails twice a week, officials said.

-- Nicole Norfleet

By Michael Bolden  |  March 23, 2010; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , Safety  | Tags: Metro, metro safety  
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Next: Big delays on I-495 North


sounds cool, but where is all this funny-money coming from for purchasing all of these new rail cars?

Posted by: hockeypunk | March 23, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

A machine will certainly be more reliable than metro workers.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | March 23, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Is Metro going to reduce service to 3-car trains in order to pay for it?

Posted by: corrections | March 23, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I can see more delays already. Inspecting tracks during normal day operations. I can see ridership going down even further. Squeeze your pockets even tighter. Wonder were this $7.8 million dollars will pop up from. Thats the big question.

Posted by: beenbrokesince_90 | March 24, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

"Is Metro going to reduce service to 3-car trains in order to pay for it?"

Since cars have to be used in pairs, maybe they'll go to two-car trains. (Can't have 3-car, 5-car, or 7-car trains due to the way most subway cars are designed. I believe the Flushing Line in New York is the only one to use an odd number of cars, as it uses 11-car trains.)

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 24, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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