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Report: Metro knew train brake parts were failing

WASHINGTON — Metro officials have known for six years that some of the agency’s rail cars have brake parts that fail sooner than expected, but the transit agency did not upgrade the equipment because it didn’t have the money.

That’s what Metro board members were told at a meeting Thursday. Metro says two brake failures occurred in 2006, alerting officials to the problem. Metro says the brake’s manufacturer analyzed the problem, and the agency planned to upgrade parts on affected cars in 2009 but didn’t because of cost. The problem gained attention again in December when a brake part fell from a train, damaging two cars.

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles says the agency has now replaced the brake parts on 98 percent of the 190 affected rail cars. Similar equipment on newer cars will be replaced starting in July.