Some Near Misses For Those in Rear Of Eight-Car Trains

By Robert Thomson
Sunday, May 4, 2008

Some commuters who board the crowded Orange Line trains at Court House station know they might get a seat if they enter the last car of an eight-car train. That's because many other riders are still in the habit of standing at boarding spots for six-car trains.

Some train operators also may find that six-car trains are habit-forming. When bringing eight-car trains to a platform, they occasionally come up short.

During a Monday morning rush late last month, the doors on an eight-car train that had left Court House opened again at the next station, Rosslyn.

Well, almost at Rosslyn. Actually, the last car was still in the tunnel. Riders were upset but unharmed. By Wednesday, though, they were getting way too familiar with that tunnel wall at Rosslyn.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I'm the rider who submitted the comment to your online chat [, April 21] regarding the train doors opening while the last car of the eight-car train was still in the tunnel.

Unbelievably, the exact same thing happened while I was on the train this morning [April 30]. My husband and I were on car 5005 around 8:20 a.m. as it pulled into Rosslyn. The doors opened while the entire car was still in the tunnel. And again, there was no reaction from the operator.

Blair Petrillo


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

The incident on an eight-car Orange Line train at Rosslyn in which the doors of the last car were opened in the tunnel, reported on your blog April 21, happened again this morning. By dumb luck, my partner and I have been present for both incidents on our commute into the city from Court House.

This morning, an eight-car train that had made it all the way onto the Court House platform pulled into Rosslyn, but the last car failed to make it into the station. The operator then opened the doors. There was no indication from the operator that he knew of the issue. We continued on to Foggy Bottom, where the train again made it all the way onto the platform (as at Court House) and, subsequently, at Farragut West, where we disembarked.

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