Train on Yellow Line Derails at D.C. Station

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 20, 2009

A six-car Yellow Line Metro train derailed at the Mount Vernon Square station in downtown Washington last night, the second time a Metro train has derailed there since January 2007. All passengers had gotten off the train before it derailed, and no injuries were reported.

The accident took place on a day when Metro also faced delays on its Orange Line.

The train at Mount Vernon Square derailed shortly after 6:30 p.m., officials said. It had completed its run at Mount Vernon and was headed back to the Virginia end of the line. The rear wheels of the last car derailed, officials said.

After the accident, all Yellow and Green Line trains shared a single track between Mount Vernon Square and the U Street-Cardozo stations. Officials were investigating the cause.

The type of rail car in the accident was the same series that has been involved in more than 13 derailments in the past six years, including the January 2007 accident. More than 20 people were injured in that derailment, which federal safety investigators tied to failures to keep up with basic maintenance and safety steps.

Metro officials said they had revamped track procedures. A section of track in the general area of last night's derailment was set to be replaced in coming weeks, spokesman Lisa Farbstein said.

The rail cars involved in the derailments are known as the 5000 Series, manufactured by CAF, a Spanish company.

Orange Line riders experienced major delays during the morning and afternoon rushes when a maintenance truck derailed twice, causing trains to share a single track through heavily used stations during much of the day and evening. No one was injured.

The first derailment occurred at 4:30 a.m. The wheels of a vacuum truck used for routine track maintenance popped off the tracks at the Court House Station, officials said. The situation was resolved at 1:46 p.m. But after 10 minutes, the truck derailed again.

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