Delays Are Still Possible on Metro's Red Line Today

By Derek Kravitz and Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, March 30, 2009

Metro said it was on target to fix underground tracks on the Red Line between the Friendship Heights and Bethesda stations before today's morning commute but cautioned that delays were still possible.

Angela Gates, a Metro spokeswoman, said that by late yesterday, crews had fixed about 2,000 feet of broken track. Those sections were to be fastened and tested last night, she said, but the repairs appeared to be on schedule.

"But of course, we still want people to have an alternate plan, a Plan B, for their commute in the morning," Gates said.

Two trains, one behind the other, derailed Friday near the damage site.

Crews were working nonstop in a 600-foot-long area in the tunnel just south of the Bethesda Station. The rail troubles forced trains coming in and out of the District over the weekend to use a single track between the Friendship Heights and Medical Center stations, causing a slowdown along the line.

It was poor timing for Metro, which over the weekend saw crowds pouring into stations across the Washington area for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. If repairs are not complete, Gates said, a single track will again be used.

Also yesterday, Metro officials announced that they have temporarily changed the F4 bus route to avoid the rail crossing that was the site of a crash Thursday involving two buses and a train. Metrobuses on the route from New Carrollton to Silver Spring will detour around the Queensbury Road crossing, using East West Highway. Signs are to be posted at affected bus stops.

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