The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has been experiencing an increase in arcing on its aging system which was established in 1976. The arcing has disrupted the system’s functionality and increased its safety risks to passengers and employees.
As a result, it is taking a more methodical look at the safety and security of 118 miles of track that are responsible for transporting the region’s commuters. In July of 2017, WMATA put a preventive maintenance program in place designed to test the infrastructure and identify weaknesses before systems fail. Each year, a quarter of the system will be tested and inspected for electrical current leaks in order to identify and address areas vulnerable to arcing.
Electrical Alliance contractor, C3M Power Systems, has roughly 90 workers engaged in projects which include substation and tie breaker station upgrades who have transitioned into roles in the new preventive maintenance program.
C3M vice president, Chuck Hinton, told EC&M magazine, “They’ll come in behind crews performing insulation resistance and stray current testing and do the work that close inspections have deemed critical to prevent future arcing incidents. WMATA will note the deficiencies, and if the results are out of acceptable range, we’ll repair and document it and check the item off the list.”
The new program poses several challenges that C3M teams will overcome:
- Sheer magnitude of tasks to accomplish
- Tight time windows that allow for maybe only two to four hours of actual repair work each night
- Much of the rail system is underground
- A lot of thecable that will have to be removed has been subject to water and insulation breakdown
The improvements that result from this program will have a big impact on the strength and reliability of the rail system, making system users’ rides safer and more predictable.
About The Electrical Alliance
The Electrical Alliance is a cooperative effort between electrical contractors and skilled craftsmen to provide quality products and services to customers and to set the standard for efficiency, productivity, and safety within the electrical industry. It is jointly sponsored by the National Electrical Contractors Association and Local 26, IBEW. To learn more, visit News & Press or follow the Electrical Alliance on Twitter @dcelec_alliance.
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