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D.C. Trains Back on Track

Rails Had Been Delayed After Morning Power Outage

By Steven Ginsberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 5, 2005; 4:06 PM

Amtrak and the MARC commuter line say that train service has been restored to normal following hours of delays caused by a disabled power line just north of Union Station in Washington.

Amtrak said trains that use Union Station -- including MARC's Penn Line between Washington and Baltimore and northeast corridor trains between Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston -- were delayed by about 30 to 45 minutes during the day.

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The problems were centered about a mile north of Union Station, where the 5:30 a.m. train to New York City ground to a halt after it lost the electricity that makes it go. Officials discovered that the overhead power lines were down as was the mechanical arm that sits on top of the train and connects to those wires.

Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said officials did not know whether one caused the other to break or whether there were problems with both.

Regardless, power was out for nearly two hours and there was no train movement into or out of Union Station on the Penn Line until about 7:30 a.m. when one track was returned to service. Black said about 20 of the 160 trains that operate daily in the northeast corridor were cancelled, in addition to widespread delays.

MARC spokesman Walter Hayes said some commuter lines were cancelled this morning, while others terminated at New Carrollton, where riders could get onto Metro, and others were delayed.


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