“While there is no risk to the structural integrity of the tunnel…” So we got that going for us, which is nice

by Prince Of Petworth March 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm 16 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jordan Barab


“Metro has completed repairs to the Yellow Line tunnel south of L’Enfant Plaza where water was entering the tunnel earlier today.

The leak was first reported around 11:30 a.m. by a train operator. Metro structural engineers and inspectors responded and determined that the water was entering the system from outside the Metro system. Third-rail power was de-energized for safety reasons.

From 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., Yellow Line trains were single tracking between L’Enfant Plaza and Pentagon City. Normal two-track service has been restored.

It has not yet been determined whether the source was ground water or from a non-Metro-related pipe outside the tunnel wall.

Customers should expect normal service for the evening commute. As a reminder, Yellow Line trains are scheduled to run less frequently due to SafeTrack Surge #13.”


“Shortly after 11:30 a.m., Metro received a report of water entering the Yellow Line tunnel south of L’Enfant Plaza. Metro removed third rail power on the inbound Yellow Line track. Upon inspection, engineers found water breaching the tunnel wall under pressure (see video below).

While there is no risk to the structural integrity of the tunnel, Metro has taken this action to prevent water from spraying on the electrified third rail. Yellow Line trains are single tracking between L’Enfant Plaza and Pentagon City. The source of the water has not been determined, but all indications are that the water is originating from outside the Metro system.

Service Information

Yellow Line trains are subject to delays due to single tracking. Green and Blue line trains, while not single tracking, may experience congestion-related delays due to Yellow Line trains waiting to proceed through the single-track zone. Customers on both lines are advised to allow additional travel time.

Metro will provide an update on an estimated time of repair once more information is known.”

  • ftoast

    Wow, that video is frightening.

    “all indications are that the water is originating from outside the Metro system.”
    Where else would it possibly come from?

    • [rrrrr]

      Yeah that made me chuckle. Though you watch, next week we’ll find out that a station manager has been pumping water through the AC system as part of some elaborate embezzlement/timesheet scam.

      • jcm

        That’s literally how the air conditioning in Metro stations works. No the money part, but they use chilled water, and pump it from central plants to the stations.

        • [rrrrr]

          Oh heck, I try to make a joke and instead I invent air conditioning.

  • FridayGirl

    On the day of the storm, water sprayed on my train in the tunnel between Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn which really concerned me. I didn’t notice it later in the day though, so I hope it was addressed. Can WMATA give a statement about this, too, since it’s well… under a river and all…?

  • HaileUnlikely

    I’d like to believe that their assessment of the structural integrity of the tunnel is accurate, I can’t imagine how they arrived at that conclusion that quickly between the time of the incident (“shortly after 11:30”) and the time the press release was issued (PoP posted it at 1:05).
    It surely took at least 5 minutes for Metro to write the press release, and they must have already came to their conclusion that the structural integrity of the tunnel was not threatened before that information was communicated to a PR guy wrote it, which gives them about 60-75 minutes, at most, from the occurrence of the incident to their determination that the structural integrity of the tunnel was not threatened. No way. I call bullsh!t on the intellectual integrity of their claim of structural integrity.

    • Blithe

      Gulp. Well, THAT’S reassuring! :-/

      • FridayGirl

        +1 to both HaileUnlikely and Blithe. I really feel for people who actually need to ride metro every day. Once I’m done with training tomorrow my goal is to never use it again.

  • anonymous

    Oh brother.
    While your chance of dying on Metro is admittedly much lower than your chance of dying while driving, I have to say this system makes me very nervous. When I think of how much worse they have gotten AFTER MetroForward and now, SafeTrack, it’s unnerving to think of what kinds of conditions continue to exist and go unabated on this system. Then, I think of whether you can trust them to safely get you over the river (Yellow Line going to the Pentagon) or under the river. Oh man.

  • Anonynon

    This line of track easily the most unreliable unpredictable in all of metro. Yellow line shares with green and gets about half as many trains entering the system, in addition they always turn around at Mt. Vernon….why? More greens should be converted to yellow coming from Ft. Totten (unless theres a nats game or something). The blue line is a joke. Always on safe track, never enough trains. Has to compete with Orange and Silver….my lord. I would HATE to have to deal with this on a daily basis…thankfully only once every few weeks

    • ftoast

      There’s a pocket track (i.e. a third track segment) between Mt. Vernon and Shaw, which allows trains to reverse direction there without temporarily blocking the two main tracks. Sadly, no pocket tracks exist on yellow/green north of there, so any trains running past Mt. Vernon would have to either go all the way to Greenbelt (which is already at capacity) or block other trains. Keep in mind that the engineer has to run from one end of the train to the other in order to start going in the other direction.

      • FridayGirl

        “Keep in mind that the engineer has to run from one end of the train to the other in order to start going in the other direction.”
        Thank you for putting this image in my head. This is actually really funny to think about.

      • RyanD

        While all of those points are true, I wonder how much of the operator running can (and perhaps is) resolved by adding one additional person per terminus. When each train terminates, someone else jumps in the cab at the other end. They get off and have the headway to walk down the platform so they can get in the cab on the next train to terminate.
        I’m not sure how this impacts operator scheduling (they now are drifting to other trains), and I expect that there is still a bunch of time required to turn a train around with brake checks and all.

    • Anonacostia

      Strongly disagree that the number of green line trains should be decreased “except for Nats games.” I ride both the green and yellow lines every day and during the evening rush I often have to sardine myself into a green line car at L’Enfant. Completely agree re: the useless blue line.

  • ET

    Glad I missed that when I was going out to National.

  • bruno

    Great photo!


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