Third cracked rail in a week found on Red Line

By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 9, 2010

Metro discovered another cracked rail on the Red Line on Thursday, the third in a week, and instituted speed restrictions outbound near Takoma Park.

The discovery came after a cracked rail was found Wednesday on the Red Line in the area of Woodley Park, also in the direction of Glenmont. That rail was replaced Wednesday night, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.

Another cracked rail was discovered April 1 on the Red Line outbound near Takoma Park, but Taubenkibel said it was in a different location than the one found Thursday.

In January, the agency discovered a cracked rail outside the Forest Glen Metro station in the direction of Shady Grove.

Taubenkibel said the latest crack was found about 11 a.m. Thursday. He said repair crews installed a "joint bar" shortly after noon at the site of the crack to strengthen the rail and were to replace it overnight. He said the rail was not in danger of snapping.

Taubenkibel said that the cracks might have been the result of the past few days' warm weather, but that the exact cause will not be determined until the rails are examined further. "It could be routine wear and tear," he said.

Such cracks are "not uncommon throughout the entire transit industry," he said. Metro's "track department would change out the rail -- put in the new rail, take out the old section of rail -- and we'll look at it and examine it, and see how and why the crack in the rail happened."

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