Subway service was disrupted for thousands of rush-hour commuters yesterday afternoon after two trains stalled on Metro's Red Line between Dupont Circle and Silver Spring, according to a Metro spokesman.

Passengers encountered delays of up to 1 1/2 hours, the spokesman said.

Cody Pfanstiehl, Metro's community services director, said the delays began at about 4:15 p.m., when a southbound train stalled on a crossover between two tracks near the Silver Spring station. About 35 minutes later, another train broke down south of the Rhode Island Avenue stop, Pfanstiehl said.

"This is not a good day," Pfanstiehl said. "We haven't had one like this for a long time."

Passengers were standing "10 deep" at the Metro Center station, he said, from about 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., when normal service was restored. Many commuters gave up after long waits and went home by bus.

Subway service was halted between the Takoma and Silver Spring stops, Pfanstiehl said, because the stalled train had blocked the only two available tracks. Service on the rest of the Red Line was slowed considerably.

More than 700 passengers were riding the northbound train that stalled near the Rhode Island Avenue stop, Pfanstiehl said. They had to wait about an hour aboard the stalled subway before another train was sent to take them to the station. A much smaller number of passengers were delayed aboard the train that broke down near Silver Spring, Pfanstiehl said.

Metro officials dispatched buses to help transport commuters from the Takoma to the Silver Spring station because of the disruption in rail service. The cause of the two train breakdowns was not immediately known, Pfanstiehl said.