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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 12/20/2011

Blue/Orange line service restored

4 p.m. Update: Metro will conduct a review of its 5000 series rail cars following Tuesday’s incident where a “friction ring,” a component of the braking system fell from a rail car and struck the electrified third rail, according to Metro General Manager Richard Sarles.

Metro has about 190 5000 series in its fleet of approximately 1,100 rail cars.

2:40 p.m. Update: Dana Hedgpeth will be tweeting live from a press conference being held by Metro General Manager Richard Sarles at 3 p.m. Follow her tweets below or on Twitter @postmetrogirl.

2:30 p.m. Update: Metro reports that all of its rail lines are operating “on time.”

2:10 p.m. Update: The Tri-State Oversight Committee, which monitors safety at Metro, is aware of the incident. TOC Chairman Matt Bassett was on the scene earlier today.

Update, 2 p.m.: Metro says passengers should expect residual delays until about 2:30 p.m.

Metro chief spokesman Dan Stessel said crews have been examining the tracks to make sure there is no damage.

Update, 1:55 p.m.:

Metro commuters continue to experience delays after a piece of metal broke loose from a Metro rail car and struck the electrified third rail. Trains are now servicing both tracks after a morning and early afternoon that included a suspension of service between McPherson Square and Federal Center SW and required scores of riders to evacacuate from trains stopped in tunnels.

Metro chief spokesman Dan Stessel said a “friction ring” fell from an Orange Line train about 9:40 a.m. and struck the electrified third rail between the L'Enfant Plaza and Smithsonian stations. The stations filled with smoke and service on the lines ground to a halt.

Stessel said there were no injuries but several trains were evacuated and shuttle service was offered to bridge the gap in service.

Update, 1:25 p.m.: Metro General Manager Richard Sarles will hold a press conference to discuss the incident at 3 p.m. this afternoon.

Update, 1:05 p.m.: Service has been restored on the Blue and Orange lines. Trains are single-tracking between Metro Center and Federal Center SW. Metro Transit Police warned that passengers may see delays during the afternoon rush hour.

Update, 12:30 p.m.:

All the trains have been evacuated and Metro officials are inspecting the rails.

Staff writer Tim Smith reports the following:

Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Byrne said the train that hit the object stopped 500 feet from Smithsonian station. Firefighters made a human chain in the tunnel to guide people out. One female passenger experienced anxiety and received medical attention on site. No one was taken to hospital, Byrne said. Fire officials have left the scene.

“The emergency has been mitigated,” said Assistant Fire Chief Tim Gerhart. “Everone has been evacuated off the train safely and we’re turning the incident over to Metro.”

Update, 11:50 a.m.

City officials report that all the streets have been reopened. Metro service still is suspended. Officials said they hope to get all the stations opened before the afternoon rush hour, with some of the stations opened before that. By all accounts, the train evacuations have been without major problems.

Update: 11:15 a.m.

Reporter Ashley Halsey III reports the following:

A metal piece of a Metro rail car broke loose and struck the electrified third rail in between the L'Enfant Plaza and Smithsonian stations this morning, filling the stations with smoke and bringing Metro service on the Blue and Orange lines to a halt, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.

There was no fire, there were no injuries, but several trains were being evacuated and shuttle bus service was being offered between the two stations, Stessel said.

It was uncertain how long service would be disrupted, he said. Stessel said initial reports suggest that the piece that broke from the train was something called a "friction ring" and it caused smoke but no flames when it made contact with the rail. He said the train involved in the incident was among those being evacuated.

D.C. Fire and EMS said on its Twitter account that it was helping about 300 people evacuate the Smithsonian Station and some trains near the station.

In addition, city offcials are reporting some street closures in the area near the Smithsonian and L’Enfant stations.

Original Post:

Blue and Orange Line service between McPherson Square and Federal Center SW has been suspended due to a “track obstruction” at L’Enfant Plaza, according to Metro chief spokesman Dan Stessel.

He said “limited bus service” has been requested.

The obstruction is believed to be a part of a train, but the specific part has not been confirmed, Stessel said. Passengers have been offloaded and limited bus service has been requested as Metro investigates.

No injuries were reported, he said. #w

Did you have to evacuate from a train stuck in a tunnel? Share your story below or e-mail transportation [at}washpost.com.

Related stories:

Dr. Gridlock: Confusion, but calm, at Metro Center

By and  |  12:30 PM ET, 12/20/2011

Categories:  Metro

 
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