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DC Metro may shut down entire rail lines for months

DC Metro may shut down entire rail lines for months
© Anne Wernikoff

Entire rail lines in Washington's Metrorail subway system could be shut down for months at a time to conduct repairs, the transit system's leaders acknowledged Wednesday.

Board of directors Chairman Jack Evans raised the possibility during a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments conference, saying there is not enough time to complete work during nights and weekends, according to The Washington Post.
 

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“So in order to do repairs that are necessary, it may come to the point where we have to close the entire Blue Line for six months," Evans said. "People will go crazy. But there are going to be hard decisions that have to be made in order to get this fixed."

Paul J. Wiedefeld, general manager of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, emphasized that he has not yet made a decision on whether to shut down any lines for repair.

A spokesman said Wiedefeld is expected to unveil a new maintenance plan for the aging Metro system in about four to six weeks.
 
The news follows an unprecedented shutdown of the entire rail system for over 24 hours earlier this month after a cable fire near the McPherson Square station. The subway has been plagued by frequent maintenance problems, including a deadly fire in January 2015.

During emergency inspections, 27 defects were repaired, and more than 300 “non-emergency” repairs are now underway.

A new inspection process will begin this week while Metro develops a broader plan for a revamped inspection program. Wiedefeld has long warned that fixing the troubled system could result in more delays and disruptions.