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Afternoon Metro Commute Gonna be Dicey for Many

by Prince Of Petworth March 14, 2016 at 1:53 pm 21 Comments

metro commute
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”

  • ParkViewneighbor

    Notifying riders in advance does not make the dismal performance ok. It’s cute but I’d rather not hear from Wmata at all and have trains

    • OP Anon

      And I want a blue unicorn for my fifth 30th Birthday.

    • LMatt_in_NE

      So, people complain when there is a lack of communication and accountability and then also complain when there is communication and accountability. Got it.

      • Tim


      • reality


      • ParkViewneighbor

        Being told in advance that your commute is going to suck hard doesn’t make it ok in most places. Wmata will still charge you $$$ for your horrible commute and doesn’t deliver any good service. It’s like getting slapped in the face but well… i was warned beforehand so that’s fine….. keep it up bruv

        • skj84

          Doesn’t make it ok, but at least it gives you the option to plan ahead. Which is better than nothing.

          • ParkViewneighbor

            How low have we gone….

        • LMatt_in_NE

          It’s an old system, things break and yeah that sucks but advance communication and planning for a sh!tty commute is better than none at all.

      • MMMkay

        It’s almost like there is more than one thing to complain about. We can be happy that there is communication, but still be disappointed that something caught on fire and can’t be fixed until after rush hour.

    • sproc

      Just because Paul Wiedefeld was handed a six-foot feces sandwich doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect his efforts so far to turn it around. This was a well worded statement.

      • Marty

        yes, exactly.

      • LMatt_in_NE


      • Pleasanter

        Yes, I’ve been impressed with his communication and efforts thus far. I have hope that they will translate into tangible results.

  • Emuhawk

    “Blue and Orange eastbound trains will skip Farragut West and McPherson Square to reduce delays.”

    I guess that is one way to do it. By skipping two of the busiest rush hour stations (two stations in a row, no less!), your trains will certainly run much faster and without the burden of all those pesky customers.

    • Rich

      FW is not that far from Foggy Bottom. Ditto McPherson and Metro Center. Probably a big problem for disabled people, but not for 99% of rush hour riders.

      • Emuhawk

        McPherson to Metro Center isn’t bad, but Farragut West to Foggy Bottom can be a hike, especially depending on where your office is actually located. But more importantly, neither Metro Center nor Foggy Bottom is equipped to handle a whole second station’s worth of riders. That’s just trading one problem for another. Personally, I’ll be giving Metro what they clearly want and won’t be riding at all.

  • wdc

    This isn’t bad at all, given what the poor man has to work with. It’s clear, it says what happened, it details a plan to fix it, it says what to expect, and how to make the best of your own commute.
    It’s pretty much exactly how it should’ve been done, given the givens.

    • womp

      it’s a crappy situation, but I can appreciate the communication efforts moving forward.

    • Pleasanter


  • jdre

    Is that a Morgan three-wheeler? Awesome. I bet it sucks with DC’s pothole problem, though.


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