Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tests show Silver Line tunnel settled, Washington Post, March 14, 2013

Tests on Metro’s Silver Line show that while a new tunnel in Tysons Corner has settled by about an inch, there is enough room for a train to fit, despite concerns from watchdogs and workers involved in the building of the first phase of the $5.6 billion rail line.
A report by two contractors working for Bechtel found that despite the settling in a segment of the tunnel that runs from Route 123 to Route 7, there is the necessary clearance for a Metro train to pass. Bechtel is building the first phase of the rail line, which runs from East Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue. . . 
There have been other hiccups on the Silver Line.
MWAA ran specially outfitted Metro test trains along the Silver Line and through the tunnel in December, and the train struck several items along the route, including a handrail and boxes containing emergency cutoff switches. Nowakowski said the handrail and boxes were “installed in the wrong place.”
Nowakowski said the test cars “didn’t hit the roof of the tunnel” and “did not hit the sides of the tunnel.”
A second test train that was run two weeks ago in another section also hit several items. . . .
Click here for the rest of this article.

This is not good.  While a one-inch settling should not be a serious problem in a well-designed tunnel, the fact that test cars have twice hit equipment on the sides of the tunnel suggests there might be a major design issue in the tunnel.  It is doubtful that the test car was traveling "at speed" (precisely because it was a test car), so centrifugal leaning outward should not have been an issue.  Moreover, there should be space along at least one side of the car for people to evacuate in emergencies--as recently occurred on a Metrorail train stuck under the Anacostia River.  So how can a handrail (to help evacuating passengers) be "installed in the wrong place?"  Not good at all.

WMATA needs to take these results very seriously before it accepts the rail line.

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