**FILE** Passengers at Metro's L'Enfant Plaza Station in southwest D.C. wait for a train on March 9 after another malfunctioned inside the station. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Passengers at Metro's L'Enfant Plaza Station in southwest D.C. wait for a train on March 9 after another malfunctioned inside the station. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Metro released information on its last two SafeTrack phases, or surges, including the closure of five Orange Line stations for at least 30 days.

The maintenance projects for surges 15 and 16 had been previously scheduled for continuous single-tracking.

Starting May 16 through June 15, these stations east of Stadium Armory in Southeast will be closed: New Carrollton, Landover, Cheverly, Deanwood and Minnesota Ave. Shuttle buses will be used to transport for commuters between those stations for about a month.

The last surge on the Red Line between Shady Grove and Twinbrooks stations in Montgomery County will start afterward, but the agency said specific dates and details will be provided in the next few weeks.

In a statement issued Friday, April 28, the agency said the surge changes were made “in order to minimize the customer impact elsewhere on the system and to maximize productivity.”

Some of the time changes and parking recommendations from Metro:

• Orange Line trains anticipate running every six to eight minutes during rush hour;

• Silver Line trains between Stadium Armory and Wiehle-Reston East in Northern Virginia anticipates doubling to every 12 minutes during rush hour;

• Blue Line trains will remain the same and operate every 12 minutes; and

• Commuters who regularly park at New Carrollton or Landover should consider parking at Greenbelt or Largo Town Center.

At the completion of SafeTrack, Metro officials plan to integrate a new maintenance program which will follow federal and transportation guidelines.

In addition, the new station hours will be implemented in July and last for about two years.

Metrorail stations currently close at midnight for SafeTrack. The new hours will be from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 a.m.-1 a.m. Fridays; 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturdays; and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays.

The agency said SafeTrack has allowed workers to replace nearly 35,000 crossties, more than 21,000 fasteners and at least 41,000 linear feet of rail to combine three years of work into one year.

Meanwhile, Metro plans to beef up the staff at the Rail Operations Control Center in Landover and hire between two to five superintendents in the department to ensure managerial coverage 24 hours a day.

Also, track workers will receive “Safety Stand Down” training beginning May 8 so they will have up-to-date information on safety protocols and communication.

The initiatives were spurred by an April 24 letter the Federal Transit Administration sent to Metro with directives to correct significant deficiencies along the rail system or face having 25 percent of federal funding withheld.

The letter from FTA Associate Administrator Thomas Littleton called for Metro to: require a worker to keep trains from coming into a work area; clarify communications between rail operators, rail controllers and roadway workers; and reduce distractions among rail controllers.

Littleton said Metro had at least four instances this year when it violated roadway protection orders by having unauthorized workers along the tracks as trains sped past. In addition, the transit agency hasn’t properly addressed previous safety directives the FTA administered two years ago.

Littleton stated in the letter Metro had five business days to respond with a plan of action.

“I share the FTA’s concerns and we are working diligently to improve roadway worker protections throughout the Metrorail system,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedfeld said in the letter sent Friday to the FTA.

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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