After being stranded, Metro riders rethink riding rails

D.C. fire trucks are seen at the Smithsonian Metro Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. (WTOP Photo/Adam Tuss)
'Explosions went off'

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 2:33 am

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The latest frightening incident on Metro where hundreds of subway riders were stranded after part of a brake system fell off a Blue Line train has some faithful riders saying they are considering giving up the rails.

“I’m going to have to think twice,” says Lisa Cho of Prince George’s County.

She’s been taking Metro every day to work in D.C. for nearly 20 years. But she was left with a bad taste in her mouth after she felt Metro’s actions after the incident were inept.

She struggles to find the right words.

“And now they want to raise fares. And they can’t… even have… I don’t know, I don’t know.”

Another Metro rider tweets: “Today is my last day as a full time Orange Line commuter after almost 10 yrs. Cheaper, easier & safer to drive.”

Nobody was hurt when part of the brake assembly fell off a train Tuesday morning and struck the electrified third rail, causing sparks and smoke.

Two Orange Line trains behind the one that lost its brake assembly as it passed through the Smithsonian station had to be stopped in a tunnel.

About 300 riders, who received little instruction from train operators about what was going on, were stranded on the trains. Emergency personnel arrived about 20 minutes after the trains were stuck to escort passengers off the trains.

Some riders say the experience was terrifying because of the lack of information, the sound of explosions and widespread panic on board. They say the incident made them think the subway could be a terror target.

The incident has prompted Metro General Manager Richard Sarles, who rides the rails every day and plans to continue doing so, to call for precautionary inspections of Metro’s 5,000-series rail cars.

Sarles ordered precautionary tests on all of the 190 cars from that series. The 5,000-series cars are among the newer cars in Metro’s fleet, having been delivered between 1998 and 2003.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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