3 women trapped in out-of-service Metro train

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 8, 2010; 9:33 PM

Gail Harris and two other women were trapped on a Metro train for about 20 minutes Friday after being locked in when the malfunctioning train was taken out of service, Harris said. She said the train traveled through several stations before Metro personnel discovered them inside and got them out.

"I was scared. I have high blood pressure," said Harris, 57, of Bowie.

The incident began at about 7:20 am when the crowded train malfunctioned at Capitol South Station and the operator instructed all the passengers to alight. However, Harris said, the door suddenly shut tight before she and the two others could get off.

After the train began moving Harris and the other women pressed the red emergency button repeatedy in a vain effort to get help, she said. She said attempts to reach a 911 operator cellphones were unsuccessful.

In the meantime, Harris said, the train rolled on through the Federal Center, L'Enfant Plaza and Smithsonian stations.

"We banged on the door, on the windows. People could see us on the train as we were going past" in the stations, Harris recalled. "We kept pushing on the doors and screaming."

After the train stopped at Metro Center, a Metro employee found them stranded in the car. He radioed to another employee, who opened the doors to allow the women to get off the train.

"We couldn't believe it," Harris said. She said she left a message at Metro's customer complaint line, but had not heard back by Friday evening, she said.

Metro officials had no immediate comment on the matter.

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