So what’s the story here?

3 minute read

July 2, 2008, 11:45 PM

Looks like there’s more than just Breda 3290 and 3291 as a mismatched set in Metro’s 3000 series of rail cars. Look at this:

Breda 3193 and 3218 mated together as a pair

This is Breda 3193 paired with Breda 3218, which I rode from Metro Center to Glenmont this evening. I had previously spotted this odd pair of rehabs last week in Brentwood Yard while on my way to work, but kind of half-dismissed it, thinking that it wasn’t a mismatched pair, since I had to have been looking at two cab ends next to each other, but this photo proves my suspicions. 3193 and 3218 are a pair, as these are the blind ends pictured here.

Normally, you see, Metro car married pairs are numbered sequentially, with the even number as the lower of the pair. Thus if I’m on Breda 2008, for instance, I know that Breda 2009 is permanently attached to it on the non-cab end. Anything else would be non-standard.

And the reason this is so puzzling is because all the equipment that is supposed to be mismatched is accounted for. The NTSB report on the 2004 Woodley Park-Zoo accident accounts for every rail car up to that time that is no longer in revenue service:

WMATA car roster from NTSB Woodley Park-Zoo accident report
Source: NTSB

This accounts for the 1982 Federal Triangle derailment, which took 1028-1029 out of revenue service. 1028 later became the feeler car, which is currently sitting at Brentwood. This accounts for the 1996 Shady Grove collision, which took 3190-3191 and 3252-3253 out of revenue service. 3191 and 3252 actually collided with each other and were retired, while 3190 and 3253 became 3290-3291 and returned to revenue service. Then 1076-1077 was pulled from revenue service following 1077’s destruction at Woodley Park-Zoo in 2004. 4018-4019, the pair that was hit, was quickly repaired and returned to revenue service. I had 4019 this past May 6, in fact, on the way home from work. Then the 2007 Mt. Vernon Square derailment, not listed on this chart, involved CAF cars, specifically 5152-5153.

So that’s what we definitely know regarding out-of-service cars and cars without mates. One of the numbers comes close, but not quite, as 3193 is the odd-numbered car in the set. 3191 was one of the accident cars in 1996 – not 3193. So we can toss out the idea of repairing ten-year-old accident damage during rehab. Likewise I can toss out the theory that 3290-3291 went to rehab and came back with their original numbers. Then 3218 doesn’t even come close to coinciding with anything I’ve got.

Then my transit log shows that since I started logging in August 2005, I rode 3193 on August 31 and November 16, 2005 in its original configuration. I have no records at all of riding 3192. Then my records show that I rode 3218 on April 8 and October 23, 2006 in original configuration, and on June 26, 2007 post-rehab. And I have no records of having ridden 3219.

So with all the information I have in my collection of train-geek type documentation on my computer, I’ve got nothing. So the question consists of multiple parts. First of all, why are Bredas 3193 and 3218 paired together? When did this unusual pairing happen? And lastly, what happened to Bredas 3192 and 3219, and when? That’s really strange, and I don’t have an answer. And I want one, too…

Web site: Photo of a WMATA Rohr train from the 70s. Note the interior roll signs.

Song: Lurleen Lumpkin's "Bagged Me a Homer" song from The Simpsons.

Quote: Yeah, if you know why this pair is so brazenly mismatched, let me know. That's just odd...

Categories: WMATA