Yesterday was an awful day for the Metro subway and its passengers. A series of mishaps, equipment malfunctions and other incidents delayed trains in the morning rush hour, causing hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of passengers to be late for work.

According to Metro spokesmen, this is some of what happened:

The derailment of a piece of maintenance equipment near the Smithsonian station at 3:15 a.m. was not fully cleared up until the rush hour was well under way. Passenger service that normally starts at 6 a.m. on the combined Orange/Blue Line through downtown Washington was delayed until both tracks were opened at 7:33 a.m.

Scarcely an hour later, the brakes froze on an eastbound train on the same line at Smithsonian, blocking trains for three stations back. All the trains had to be reversed to clear the tracks.

Between those two incidents, at 7:27, the brakes jammed on a Blue Line train headed from Pentagon to National Airport, causing a chain-reaction delay of trains in both directions, jamming the Pentagon platform with waiting commuters. One airport-bound train was reversed to carry commuters downtown.

A few minutes later, an Orange Line New Carrollton-bound train stalled at Deanwood and had to be pushed to the terminal, delaying that end of the line 28 minutes.

Then, at 9:01 on the Red Line, electrical resistors that are part of the braking system began smoking on an inbound train approaching the Rhode Island Avenue station. The fire department was called.

One incident was beyond Metro's control. A woman passenger got sick on a train at Foggy Bottom. She was removed by an ambulance crew. The nearest hospital, George Washington University's, is right across the street from the station entry.

The D.C. Wage-Hour Board has taken the first procedural step toward raising the minimum wage for retail workers in the city.

The board, an independent arm of the Employment Services Department, announced that it intends to set up a fact-finding and advisory board of nine members next month to recommend a new wage floor.

At present, the D.C. minimum wage for workers in stores that do less than $362,500 gross annual business is $2.50 an hour, a rate set in 1976. Larger stores pay the federal minimum hourly wage of $3.35.

Richard R. Seideman, executive secretary of the wage-hour board, said persons willing to serve on the advisory board should write him at 614 H St. NW, Room 615, ZIP code 20001, by Jan. 17. Three members of the panel to be chosen by the board will represent employers, three will represent employes and three will represent the general public.

Candidates to fill a soon-to-be-vacant Virginia state Senate seat from Norfolk in a special election have been chosen by the local Democratic and Republican parties.

The Democratic candidate will be Evelyn Hailey, 60, a member of the state House of Delegates for eight years, who was chosen Monday night at a district party convention. She defeated former delegate Howard Copeland.

The Republican candidate, chosen earlier by a party committee, will be Wayne Lustig, a lawyer.

The Senate seat will be vacated Jan. 1 by Sen. Joseph T. Fitzpatrick, who last month was elected Norfolk city treasurer. The special election is tentatively set for Jan. 12.

Another minor downtown landmark has disappeared to make way for a new real estate development. And with it has gone one of the last tangible links to the era of the late George Preston Marshall, original owner of the Washington Redskins.

Within the past few days, wrecking crews have demolished the two-story buildings at 1412-16 I St. NW that included upstairs quarters, at 1414 I St., of the Touchdown Club. The club shifted to 2000 K St. in 1966. "We had to move," one club employe recalled, "because there was a rock 'n' roll band under us." More recently, those musicians were replaced by a porno peep show.

In Richmond, which treasures its past, the I present has caught up, too. The Raleigh Hotel, just around the corner from the state Capitol, is closing and will be converted into luxury apartments. And Teddy Deeb's hotel grill -- which former lieutenant governor Fred Pollard praised for serving the best hamburger on Main Street -- has closed with it. Loyal customers drank champagne for breakfast on the final day.

A recount completed yesterday of ballots cast last November confirmed that longtime gay rights activist Franklin Kameny had defeated Robert Roehr for a Ward 3 seat at the city's Statehood Convention next year. The recount, requested by Roehr, who had trailed Kameny by only 12 votes, gave Kameny 2,781 votes to Roehr's 2,769.

It was just one stroke of the keyboard, but this column yesterday misidentified the loser of a politicians' friendly bet over who would more swiftly lose the most weight. The loser (to Larry Hogan Jr., son of the Prince George's County executive) was state Del. Tim Maloney. Because we were one letter off, Assistant County Attorney Tim Mahoney -- self-described as "tall and slender" -- said he took a lot of kidding.