Metro and Alstom Temporarily Stop Production of Railcars

WASHINGTON — Metro and railcar manufacturer Alstom have jointly agreed to temporarily stop the delivery of rehabilitated railcars to the transit authority until a safety reinspection is completed

Alstom has rehabilitated 194 of 364 2000-3000 series Breda made railcars for the transit authority.

Today’s decision comes after Metro mechanics discovered a safety problem during a routine maintenance inspection earlier this week. Mechanics found the railcar doors were open on a recently rehabilitated 2000-3000 series railcar even though a signal light in the train operator’s cab showed that the doors were closed. The railcar was not in service.

Metro managers ordered all 194 Alstom rehabilitated railcars to undergo an immediate safety inspection. Mechanics discovered a total of 17 railcars were at risk for the same door signal problem. Repairs have been made on all of those railcars.

"We believe the trains are safe. However, as a precaution, Metro and Alstom officials will conduct a complete reinspection of the 194 rehabilitated railcars already received by the Authority," said Dan Tangherlini, interim general manager. "We’re taking this step together to ensure the improved quality of the existing railcars and all future railcar deliveries."

Metro officials say customers will not experience service delays because of the reinspection.  

Alstom won a $382.6 million contract to rehabilitate the 20-year-old 2000-3000 series railcars in 2000. The company also is building 184 new 6000 series cars for the agency. A dozen of those new 6000 series railcars are currently being tested without passengers. No major safety problems have been found. The cars are being manufactured in Hornell, New York.