Riders wait for buses at the Federal Center stop after a train derailed, impacting service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. (Elizabeth Koh/The Washington Post)

Update 3 p.m.

Metro says limited rail service has been restored in the Orange, Blue and Silver Lines stations that were shut down this morning after a train with no passengers derailed.   Metro trains are using a single track between the McPherson Square and Federal Center SW stations in downtown Washington. The Federal Triangle and Smithsonian stations will be closed through the afternoon rush, Metro said. Silver Line trains will operate only between Wiehle Avenue and East Falls Church.

If you are traveling in that area, going home or coming to town for the Nationals game or another event, consider using a different Metro line, taking bus or other mode of transportation.

If you are taking the Orange and Blue Lines, expect delays and crowded platforms.  Buses may still be a good option.

See some alternatives in the original post.

Original post at 1:01 p.m.

Thursday morning’s train derailment at the Smithsonian stop caused a nightmare of a morning commute, and by early afternoon it’s still unclear whether service on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines in some downtown stations will resume in time for the evening rush. So your best bet is to plan ahead and consider some alternate options.

This is what we know: Metrorail service is suspended between the Federal Center and McPherson Square stations.

[Derailment of non-passenger Metro train suspends service on part of Blue, Orange and Silver lines]

Metro shuttle buses

Metro is providing shuttle service between the affected stations. You can take one of those, but expect long lines, especially during the peak of the rush. The locations for the shuttle buses are:

  • Federal Center – Third & D streets SW
  • L’Enfant Plaza – Seventh & D streets SW
  • Smithsonian – 12th Street & Independence Ave. SW
  • Federal Triangle – 12th Street NW between Pennsylvania & Constitution avenues
  • Metro Center – 11th & G streets NW
  • McPherson Square – 14th & I streets NW


If you are traveling to Virginia, the Yellow Line is a good alternative. Take it to Pentagon, transfer to the Blue Line to Rosslyn and resume your Orange and Silver lines trip from there.

Or take the Red Line to Farragut North, exit the station and walk a block to Farragut West to catch the Orange and Blue lines. The Silver Line is only running to East Falls Church, so you will need to transfer there.

[Here’s what caused a Metro train to derail in downtown D.C.]

Metrobus or a Circulator

Metro says regular Metrobus service in downtown will allow affected rail passengers to ride free to their destinations.

Many routes connect to the train system. Consult the Metro trip planner and the next bus application and get an itinerary for your best route.

The No. 52 can take riders between Federal Center SW and McPherson Square for those hoping to connect to the Orange/Blue lines. The No. 52 stops at D Street SW and Seventh Street SW near the Federal Center and L’Enfant Plaza stations, and it also stops near Smithsonian and Metro Center. If  you are going in the other direction to catch trains going toward Prince George’s, take the No. 52, at 14th and I streets.

The Circulator bus has some service near the area. The new National Mall route stops in areas near Smithsonian and it connects to the Red Line. You can also ride toward the Lincoln Memorial and take a long walk north at 23rd Street to the Foggy Bottom station.

Bikeshare, taxi, rideshare, pedicabs, etc.

Consider other options, including riding a bike from your location to the next available open Metro station. Capital Bikeshare has bike kiosks around all the Metro stations. The main problem could be finding some available.

An Uber ride from L’Enfant Plaza to McPherson Square is estimated to cost between $5 to $7.

Ballpark traffic

If you are going to the Nationals game this afternoon and use L’Enfant Plaza as a transfer point, you may want to plan to board the Green Line train to Branch Avenue at Archives or one of the other Green Line stations as a better alternative.

You can also take the Red Line to Union Station and board the Circulator bus towards Navy Yard at Massachusetts Ave/Columbus Circle.

If coming from New Carrollton and Largo, you can take the Metrobus P6 towards Anacostia near Federal Center to the ballpark.  The P6 also stops near Metro Center and Federal Triangle.