Rich with History More in This Series

Emergency Scenarios

Metrorail runs subway trains on more than 106 miles throughout the Washington area. The system is designed to run trains on two tracks; it does not have express tracks like the New York system, for example. Two tracks minimized the construction cost and underground space used, but the design can be a hindrance: If something disrupts service, the delays ripple throughout the system until the train affected can be pushed to a "pocket track" built between the two service lines. Below is a snapshot of the system taken at 5:35 P.M. on January 25, 2005.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company