Metro's Saturday shutdown: Problem with management network resolved

Photo: Jay Westcott

The computer glitch that brought Metro trains to a screeching halt on two occasions this past weekend has been fixed, WMATA officials said Wednesday.

The failure of an device in Metro's information management network caused controllers in the system's Rail Operations Control Center to be unable to see where trains are in the network or remotely control switches, officials say.

That led to the system coming to a complete stop on Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning, stranding commuters and riders in trains and stations throughout the District, Maryland and Virginia.

The module that malfunctioned has now been replaced.

Saturday afternoon's shutdown took place between about 2 and 2:45 p.m. After that problem was temporarily resolved, the system malfunctioned again, stopping trains between 12:30 and 1 a.m. Sunday. Train operators were instructed to drive their trains to the nearest station and hold there.

Officials had worked feverishly since the dual malfunctions to isolate the cause, and at one point, Metro's deputy general manager for operations, David Kubicek, said that he wasn't sure the malfunction wouldn't happen again.

That fear, though, seems to have been eased with the fix announced Wednesday.

"Our work must and will continue to make this system more robust and to improve its reliability for our customers," Kubicek said.