Photo by PoPville flickr user Shamila Chaudhary
“Dear Metrorail Customer,
I know that it was a tough commute this morning for our Blue, Orange and Silver line customers. I want to provide you with an update so that you can plan for the commute home.
About 4:30 a.m., the Rail Operations Control Center received a report of a fire in the tunnel outside McPherson Square Station. Buses were called in to substitute for trains through downtown until the fire department cleared in the 6 a.m. hour. Metro restored limited rail service using a single track between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle stations.
I know that many of you experienced delays of 30 to 60 minutes on Blue and Orange line trains this morning. Silver Line trains were turned back at Ballston Station to reduce congestion downtown, and some trains bypassed stations to ease delays for the greatest number of customers.
Hopefully you received timely notification of the disruption through our communication channels: wmata.com, MetroAlerts email and text messages or the news media. (If you are not signed up for MetroAlerts, please take a moment to sign up at wmata.com/metroalerts.)
Unfortunately, the fire damaged several cables that will need to be replaced tonight in order to restore full service for tomorrow. Single tracking will continue throughout the day and will affect the evening commute. If you have the ability to consider alternate travel options today, I encourage you to do so.
I have directed that repairs start at 9 p.m. tonight when ridership is lower. At that time, rail service will be suspended on both tracks between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle.
Rail service plans for the rest of today are as follows:
Blue and Orange line trains will continue to share a single track between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle during the afternoon and evening hours. This will result in delays in both directions. You should consider travel alternates if possible, such as the Yellow Line between DC and Virginia or Metrobus options if available.
Silver Line trains will continue operating between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston only. Customers should use Orange Line trains to complete their trip between Virginia and DC.
During the evening rush hour, Blue and Orange eastbound trains will skip Farragut West and McPherson Square to reduce delays. Listen for station announcements, check platform signs or sign up for MetroAlerts for details.
Starting at 9 p.m., all rail service will be suspended in both directions between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle to allow for repairs. Metro will provide shuttle bus service between the affected stations. Please allow additional travel time.
We are working closely and cooperatively with the NTSB, FTA and DC Fire Department to determine the cause of this incident, and I will remain personally engaged in our response.
I apologize for the delay, inconvenience and crowding you experienced this morning — and that you may experience again later today. Be assured that as we respond to these matters as they arise, we continue to advance plans to improve safety and service reliability to reduce recurrences in the future.
Paul J. Wiedefeld
General Manager and Chief Executive Officer”