Thursday, March 23, 2017

Metro finds possible reason for Green line trains shaking nearby houses: broken rail fasteners

For a few months, local residents have been complaining that the Green line trains are shaking their houses. Neighbors were worried it may be affecting their homes' structural integrity and thought it was related to the new, larger 7000 series trains. Metro at first said it was no problem, and then pledged to investigate. And now, federal inspectors found what may be causing the issue: broken rail clips which are meant to dampen vibrations.

CBS and WTOP report on the issue, where the inspectors from the Federal Transit Administration found that the fasteners could be breaking due to the heavier 7000 series trains. They found numerous clips broken in a 1,300 foot stretch of track near the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro.

Here's more from the WTOP article:
Over a stretch about 1,300 feet long, the inspector found “numerous” clips, which were supposed to hold the rails in place, broken off of the fastener bases. 
When working correctly, the fasteners that had these clips reduce the vibrations going into the tunnel and the neighborhood above. 
On one of the tracks in the area, the inspector noted that even recently replaced clips had already snapped off.
The FTA suggests that the increasing use of more new trains in the Metro system, which are heavier than older models, could be contributing to increased vibrations and pressure on the fasteners. 
This is exacerbated by the location of the stretch just outside of the Georgia Avenue station because trains put more force on the tracks when braking or accelerating. 
Metro has not yet reached any final conclusions on what may be causing the vibrations, spokesman Dan Stessel said.
Nice to hear that they found a possible cause of the issue. I've also noticed my house vibrating and I'm not too far from there, but hard to say if that's the issue or something else.

The issue also seems to be happening in North Michigan Park and Southwest Waterfront.

Photo by Elvert Barnes

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