A Metrorail train derailed in Northern Virginia, between the Potomac Yard and National Airport stations, without any reported injuries. The train, designated as a 7000-series train, was heading towards Potomac Yard when it derailed just south of the National Airport station. Following the incident, 50 passengers were transferred via shuttle to continue their trips. The 7000-series trains had been previously taken out of service after a derailment in October 2021, where it was discovered that the wheels were moving outward, causing the derailment.
The derailment occurred at a low speed as the train was leaving the airport on tracks atop an elevated structure. News4 transportation reporter Adam Tuss noted that the outcome could have been much worse if the derailment had occurred with more force. The incident presents a difficult situation for Metro, as the transit agency has been pushing to get the 7000-series trains back in service and assure passengers of their safety.
As a result of the derailment, Blue and Yellow line service was suspended briefly between the National Airport and Potomac Yard stations. Shuttle buses were arranged to connect riders back to rail service. Metro stated that trains are now single-tracking through the area, running every 24 minutes. Delays are expected, and Metro authorities are working to gather more information about the incident.
The 7000-series cars make up 60% of Metro’s fleet and were supposed to be stronger and more durable. However, after the previous derailment in 2021, investigations revealed issues with the wheels being pushed outward on these railcars. Metro had to convince safety oversight groups that they regularly inspect the wheels, but a final conclusion regarding the issue has yet to be reached. If Metro is ordered to pull the 7000-series trains again, it would significantly impact progress made in recent years, including promises of shorter train wait times, and could require costly repairs.