Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Crumbling Red Line

Ft. Totten


Reader David sent in the above videos from a unique vantage point on the Red Line--looking out the back window at the end of a train.

As you can see, some of the crumbling areas are buttressed, some aren't.

Here's the Tri-State Oversight Committee's response to the videos:
State of good repair is obviously a major concern, both at WMATA and at rail transit agencies across the country. During our 2010 Triennial Audit we noticed a number of issues similar to the ones depicted in the video.

In the short term, using wooden shoring and rebar to support the platform edge does not pose an immediate safety hazard. I emphasize "in the short term" because it's clearly not a sustainable long-term solution. However, as WMATA would be quick to tell you, it's a question of money. Rehabilitating infrastructure such as station platforms (which is a scheduled part of their Red Line rehab, for example) requires time, incurs delays, and also demands a lot of capital dollars which aren't always readily available.

From an oversight perspective, we noted issues like these (as well as others) in our audit report. However, we can't require WMATA to spend money they don't have; all we can ask is that they take appropriate mitigation measures (such as the wooden shoring that was filmed) and that they have a well-defined process for channeling capital improvement dollars to safety-critical infrastructure improvements (which they also do.)
Even if the crumbling platforms aren't an immediate safety concern, it sure is sad to see the once proud Metro in such a sorry state.

Other items:
Major delays Nov. 5-7 (WMATA)
Ridership, revenues dip (Examiner)
Who should control the streetcars? (GGW)

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