Metro takes measures in heat wave

Metro said Tuesday that it is taking a number of measures to deal with this week’s soaring temperatures.

A Metro train arrives at Farragut North. (Luz Lazo – The Washington Post)
A Metro train arrives at Farragut North. (Luz Lazo/The Washington Post)

Early in the day, it lifted restrictions on passengers drinking liquids on the rail and bus system. Passengers will be allowed to drink water on trains and buses through Saturday morning at 3 a.m., Metro officials said.

The transit agency also has additional track inspections underway to look for heat kinks or other heat-related problems along the rail lines, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

Inspectors will also be doing “heat rides,” where they ride in the cab of a train with the operator and look for any problems on the tracks.

“They’re scanning the tracks, looking for anomalies or heat issues,” Stessel said.

Metro is also doing a pilot program of using sensors to remotely monitor the temperature along rail lines. If temperatures in outdoor areas of the tracks reach 135 degrees, Metro said it would likely have to put in place temporary speed restrictions for safety reasons on some above-ground tracks.

That means trains would operate at slower speeds of roughly 35 mph, instead of up to 65 mph on some straight stretches. They run at 59 mph on average.

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Robert Thomson · July 16, 2013