Tracking Wednesday night’s Metro meltdown

An Orange Line train with a brake problem created massive problems on the Orange and Blue lines Wednesday night, resulting in delays, confusion and an all-around nightmarish trip home for many.

The Post’s Dana Hedgpeth spoke with riders, who reported trips that lasted for more than three hours, overcrowded trains, little to no communication from Metro and packed stations.

Many riders sitting on idle trains or at crowded platforms and bus stops turned to social media (Twitter, specifically) to share what they were seeing. Their tweets and photos tell the story of a commute that seemed like it might never end:

First came the initial tweets from riders hearing about a malfunctioning train:

That was followed by a tweet from the transit agency reporting a brake problem:

The headaches began to build, as riders began to encounter waits and crowding:

https://twitter.com/WaffleW/status/355083957588598784

And this only worsened as more and more riders left work and headed into the rail system:

https://twitter.com/WaffleW/status/355085565080764417

Trains held at stations along the Orange and Blue lines, and crowding became a headache at downtown stations:

Riders at these packed stations looked for answers:

And long waits gave way to additional frustrations:

https://twitter.com/WaffleW/status/355098582312951810

https://twitter.com/WaffleW/status/355092905855156224

And while some looked for alternate routes, like the 38B Metrobus toward Arlington, that had its own problems:

https://twitter.com/WaffleW/status/355099691198844928

The waits continued to build, as did the crowding:

More than 90 minutes after the problems began, single-tracking was lifted:

But delays and crowding lingered as many still struggled to get home.

The meltdown happened to occur on the same day that Metro announced that it was creating two new Twitter accounts focused on rail and bus delays.

This moved service updates from the main @wmata account (which, as of this writing, has more than 47,000 followers) to @metrorailinfo (which currently has more than 3,400 followers). The main account did tweet about the Orange and Blue line delays, but the majority of tweets and responses to riders came from the new account.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Dana Hedgpeth · July 11, 2013