The first 7000-series train returned to the tracks Friday after almost two months out of service. Metro pulled the entire 7000-series fleet—around 60 percent of the rail system’s trains—in October after a Blue Line derailment revealed problems with the wheels. Metro has operated at reduced service during the trains’ absence, causing delays for many riders.
Only half of the 748-railcar fleet are going to be incrementally released over the upcoming weeks, starting with an initial group of 42 trains. The rail system is instituting weekly inspections and a 90-day wait period to confirm there are no issues before bringing back the second half of the 7000-series trains.
So yes, despite the reintroduction of the trains, service will remain at current levels into the new year. In fact, you’re looking at around three months before commutes go back to normal. Until then, additional 2000-, 3000-, and 6000-series trains will remain in rotation.
Although the 7000-series cars are coming back, investigations into the wheel troubles are still in process. Last week a group of senators sent a letter to Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld requesting information about the ongoing situation.