Don't take a hot Metro car sitting down. Grab the intercom.

By Robert Thomson
Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Every summer, Metro air conditioning is either broken or not turned on. On Wednesday afternoon, I was on an Orange Line train from Federal Triangle to Vienna. Car 5185 had no air conditioning.

With temps outside over 100 degrees, it was sweltering inside that car. I've complained to Metro, but I already know what they will say: Move to another car. This is what they say about everything instead of fixing the problem.

Because of crowding, there is very little time to get off one train car and get on another. It was particularly bothersome and irritating on Wednesday because of the heat wave.

I complain to them every year, and they do absolutely nothing. I'm guessing they won't do anything until someone passes out or dies because of the lack of air conditioning on the trains.

-- Kathy Schrecengost,

Manassas Park

The Dr. Gridlock mailbag is full of complaints about Metro air conditioning. Marshall Cohen of Fairfax County noted in the June 27 column that he had experienced many sweltering trips on the Orange Line. So on Tuesday, I took the thermometer I used to measure temperatures in Metro stations last summer and went for a ride.

The rail cars turned out to be a lot worse than the stations. In fact, I was pleased to find that the temperature at Metro Center was 81 degrees when the outdoor reading was about 100. In May 2009, two chillers broke down, leading to many complaints about overheating in this big transfer station.

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