John Matthews and Kendra Yoshinaga
WASHINGTON — (WMAL) So far, so good.
After leaving a door open for some service limitations, Metrorail did indeed open at 5 am Thursday with all lines operating as normal.
Metro officials had warned riders Wednesday evening that late repairs at the Foggy Bottom station could have resulkted in single tracking and rerouting on portions of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, but those repairs were completed in time for a normal opening Thursday.
The return to service comes after a complete system shutdown following a Tuesday morning fire at the MacPherson Square station caused by exposed wiring – a fire similar to the one at L’Enfant Plaza last year that trapped dozens of riders aboard trains in smoke-filled tunnels and claimed the life of a woman passenger.
Metro was shut down all day Wednesday as repair teams inspected tracks throughout the system. At a 6 p.m. press conference, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said that the teams had found 26 problem areas that required immediate repair.
Metro board chair Jack Evans said that while Metro regretted shutting down service, the inspections were necessary.
“We are aware of the inconvenience that was caused by closing down the system, but we still believe today that we made the correct decision because of safety. None of us, in good conscience, could send those trains out knowing the risks that we had.”
Metro’s safety inspectors will share their findings with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Transit Administration. Investigators will review maintenance records in an attempt to determine what safety oversights led to the cable problems.
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