Major Issues on the Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines – “Train service suspended btwn Foggy Bottom – Arlington Cemetery”

Outside Roslyn metro 8:43am

A reader reports:

“co-worker texted me she’s been in a tunnel for 30 minutes and finally offloaded at clarendon. they were told it was “unsafe” for trains to continue.”

@IAFF36 tweets:

“Metro Station Box – Foggy Bottom Metro – #DCFD firefighters investigating arcing insulator & smoke in tunnel”

Update 9:05am:

“Update – Foggy Bottom Metro – @wmata mitigating insulator problem in tunnel to VA, #DCFD standing by”

[email protected] tweets:

“OR/BL/SV: Train service suspended btwn Foggy Bottom – Arlington Cem & btwn Foggy Bottom – Clarendon due to fire dept activity. 8:35a #wmata”


“OR/SV/BL: Service suspended btwn Foggy Btm & Clarendon/Arl Cemetery for fire dept activity. Significant delays, consider travel alternates”

41 Comment

  • justinbc

    The photos coming in of all the escalator overcrowding are really ominous. I’m surprised nobody has been reported to be hurt yet. Stay safe folks, don’t rush in.

  • I was at the Rosalind station at 7:30 this morning and could visibly see the smoke in the station (and it reeked!). I considered leaving the station for the bus. When I got on the train, it was only moving about 5 mph. Hope everyone is safe and ok.

    • *Rosslyn

      Can you tell I live in DC? 😉

    • It’s like that almost every day, though! This also isn’t the first time an arcing insulator has been reported in that area. Metro never wants to fix the problems, they want to just apologize after the fact (and sometimes blame the riders, but that’s another rant).

  • Is this the same problem that caused the fire at L’Enfant a few months ago? Stay safe on Metro today, everybody.

  • Man, I am so thankful that I bike to work. The metro’s downfall over the past several years has shaped big life decisions for me: avoiding a certain university for grad school because it was on the Red Line, not taking jobs that would require me to forgo my bike commute. Why on earth is this status quo still tolerable?! (Because it most certainly is a tolerable status quo- all the grumbling from passengers and demands for “accountability” by politicians hasn’t resulted in a single good thing at WMATA.)

    • It seems to me there are several factors contributing to the mess we call metro:
      1. Chronic underinvestment by our regional governments that should be supporting Metro. Back in 2001 the WP ran a series of articles celebrating Metro’s 25-year anniversary. The then-GM for WMATA warned that unless capital investment was increased, the system would go into a “death spiral.” I guess we’ve reached that milestone.
      2. Complacency by WMATA employees. The regular, daily complaints all of us are used to about how poor customer service is at Metro only illustrates a broader culture of lazy complacency at all levels of the organization. Until the managers of Metro can get their collective act together and start actually managing the system instead of just operating it, problems will continue to fester and become tragic, preventable accidents.
      3. Lack of accountability. The WMATA board seems entirely powerless to hold anybody at Metro accountable for piss-poor management and pathetic operations. Board positions are patronage jobs rather than critical postings responsible for ensuring the system works. Maybe it’s time to rethink the oversight and accountability role the board plays, or, in fact, doesn’t.

      • Add to this the apparently inviolable (i) lockstep salary increases (when the rest of the area, and country, don’t get anything of the sort) and (ii) retirement benefits that are absolutely insane by today’s standards. I’m not sure the public at large has any clue of the gravy train WMATA is.

        • Chronic underinvestment yet they managed to get > billion dollars for the silver line.

          • justinbc

            Yes, Virginia is paying for the expansion of the Metro that exists only in Virginia (along with $900M of federal money). I don’t think that’s what he’s referring to.

          • Capital RE-Investment is seriously lacking. Look at all the escalators and elevators that are out of service. The fact that the 1000 series cars are still running and that the number of fare gates at stations hasn’t changed despite increased use is testament to poor stewardship of this critical piece of infrastructure.

          • Andy, I think the issue may not be a lack of reinvestment as much as it is a total mismanagement of funds. Who really trusts WMATA? Based on damning audit reports, etc, WMATA now has certain funding streams withheld until they can prove exactly how much is going where. It’s inefficient, but WMATA has proven time and again that they misspend funds and are not to be trusted.

          • I think the cost of ONE B-2 Bomber to build the entire Silver-line is relatively a fair price considering how many millions will eventually benefit from it over the life of the line.

          • justinbc

            Ben, you’re completely missing the point if you think anyone here is complaining about the silver line.

          • The Silver line is not the problem. The problem is that Metro basically deferred maintenance for too long and now everything is broken/malfunctioning/failing all at the same time. Accidents and inconvenience are going to get worse before they get better.

      • Very well said, annonny

  • Had to walk from Rosslyn to Farragut. There was absolutely no direction at Rosslyn when they offloaded us. No shuttles, no buses, cabs snatched before you could get a hand up, Uber at 5x surge. At least I’ll get my 10,000 fitbit steps in today?

  • Metro has been turning into a serious shitshow

    • +1. I went from wanting to live near a metro a couple years ago when I first lived in DC to now being SO HAPPY I have access to a million different buses instead.

      • justinbc

        It’s still good to live near one, as long as you don’t exclusively rely on it (like commuters from VA / MD kind of have to do).

        • brookland_rez

          I agree. I use it every once in a while (and it seems like when I do there’s a delay or issue about 3/4 of the time). I ride my motorcycle most days and loathe the days I use Metro. The sad thing is with better management, it could be a good system. Metro needs a shakeup of all management. Heads need to roll. Until there’s accountability and transparency in the management, nothing is going to change.

          • Agreed 1000%.
            Thank god for my scooter. I also loathe the bad weather days when I can’t ride into work. My commute goes from 10 minutes to 45 minutes. Ain’t no one got time for that.

  • Transferred to b/o/g thowards VA around 8:30 and took 4 trains before I could get on one.
    Stopped outside Metro Center around 8:50. 9:27 still sitting at Metro Center. Finally, got off and walked to 15th & F St as I needed to get to Foggy bottom for a 9:15 doc appt. Now, sitting and hoping that the doc will see me as likely others were late bc of Metro.
    They should have had free bus shuttles that went from l’enfant to Rosslyn, one with no stops between the two and another that stopped at each Metro stop

    • “They should have had free bus shuttles that went from l’enfant to Rosslyn, one with no stops between the two and another that stopped at each Metro stop”
      I vote James for Metro Overlord.

      • While being an overlord sounds nice and would like to think that I could Metro, but don’t know if I want to be associated that closely with metro. Might not be much of a reputation, but I don’t wish to sully it.
        Had to reschedule my appointment. Knew I should have just got back out of Waterfront and took the bus when I heard the announcement. Why did I have to be so darn optimistic?

          • Clarifying that *I* might not have much of a reputation. Don’t know if I made that clear enough. Metro might have had an okay reputation way back when, but this may be a myth.
            [Sorry for having to fix/clarify things twice]

  • Georgetown Uni was giving away free t-shirts at the end of the Key Bridge for those crossing to/from Rosslyn. I bike every day (and am extra glad for it on days like today!), but there was much more ped traffic on the bridge than usual. Sorry for everyone who was inconvenienced by another metro mess today, and hope everyone got to their destinations safely — and maybe with a free shirt for your trouble!

  • PoP, any update on this?

  • Ended up getting an Enterprise car share from Columbia Heights so that I could drive husband to his office in Courthouse. He got an early morning phone call, was on the phone for over an hour and by the time he was done (9:15) or so, Uber was on 5x surcharge…good thing my schedule is flexible but even driving at 10, it was crazy. So several completely packed shuttle buses on the way home, didn’t look fun.

  • Here is what really angers me about today’s situation. I get one wmata text message at 8:15 saying there are delays on blue/orange/silver (and these come almost daily, are usually cleared up within an hour, so I do not follow up). I get no other texts. When I arrive at Eastern Market metro at 9:25, there is a medical emergency on the Silver train to Reston and it is offloaded, station is not too crowded. Ambulance arrives, injured/ill person is removed from car, train is reloaded and we head on our way … or so I thought. It took until 10:45 for me to reach Metro Center! At no point could anyone working in the stations or post on the signs that it was taking 1 hour and 20 minutes to travel what is normally a 10 minute ride. I would have hopped on a bus, called my boyfriend to drive me to Union Station, gone back home and back to bed… any number of things besides sitting on the metro. I got off at 11:10 at Friendship Heights having left home at 9:10am, my commute today took over 2 hours (add-on walking to the office 10 minutes from metro). I just don’t understand why Metro did not provide additional guidance/warnings. Could no one say before you get on this train FYI, it’s going to take a really really long time to get where you are going. You probably would be better off walking.

    • justinbc

      Yeah, the lack of information that always happens in these circumstances is very disconcerting. I pretty much always rely on external twitter handles for updates, because WMATA is notoriously slow to respond.

      • I do generally agree with you and in the past after having been alerted by the WMATA text messages that there is a delay near my time of departure, that is exactly what I do. But at least 3 days a week I get texts that there is a delay or single tracking and within an hour it is cleared up so frankly, I thought nothing more of an 8:15am delay notification since I typically board around 9:30am. I am most annoyed that none of the WMATA personnel at Eastern Market could mention the delays and that the signage showed normal train arrival times. THIS WOULD BE SUCH AN EASY THING TO FIX! Shuttle buses along the BL/OR/SL lines would have been nice, but just letting folks know that there was a delay before they enter the system would save so much aggravation!

    • Howdy neighbor – I was on your train this morning from Eastern Market and I made it to Federal Center SW before bailing. With a combination of walking and one bus ride I beat you to Metro Center by about 15 minutes. Totally agree with you about the lack of information in these situations and the need for Metro to do more. In the meantime, whenever there’s a meltdown and they aren’t saying anything but endless variations of “train moving momentarily,” get off and err on the side of doing “any number of things” except sitting on the train!

      • I debated endlessly about getting off but I wasn’t convinced it would save me much time. Getting to work 1 hour and 55 minutes late instead of 2 hours and 10 minutes is not really game changing for me.

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