More than 21,000 linear feet of fiber-optic cable was laid between the Green Line’s two tracks, work Metro said could only be completed while no trains were operating. The cables will provide Metro’s communications systems a boost while also allowing Metro to make future upgrades to its train control systems, transit officials said.
Workers also replaced 8,000 feet of rail, 900 rail fasteners and 1,250 wooden crossties while resurfacing 20,000 feet of track — changes that transit officials said will give a smoother ride. Crews also removed weeds, brush and other vegetation along the tracks, improving sight lines for train operators, Metro said.
“We are proud of the important infrastructure improvements we made this summer, which will benefit our customers with more reliable and timely service for years to come,” Metro’s chief of infrastructure, Andy Off, said in a statement, adding that the project also was completed under budget.
The work is part of a broader summer infrastructure improvement effort that began in May and included the installation of 72 miles of cables and the replacement of 26 miles of 40-year-old rail on the Orange, Green and Silver lines. Several station improvements were also completed, including the replacement or addition of more than 20,000 square feet of new roofing and waterproofing on canopies at the Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood and Cheverly stations, Metro said.
The miles of fiber-optic cables will assist in real-time communications, higher-quality surveillance video and train automation. Metro is switching to a fully automated train system this year. Metrorail operated on automation until train control was ceded to operators after a fatal collision in 2009, despite multiple investigations showing automation did not contribute to the crash.