Red Line commuters endure long morning delays

John Aaron,

WASHINGTON – Unexpected track work made for a very slow commute on Metro’s Red Line Wednesday morning.

Metro found a problem with a rail switch between Judiciary Square and Gallery Place around 3 a.m. A decision was made to repair the damaged section, an operation that Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel describes as “heavy construction” that involved replacing an entire section of rail.

As a result, Red Line trains were forced to share a single track in both directions between Union Station and Farragut North, causing significant delays during the morning rush.

“No question, it was a very rough morning,” says Stessel. “We certainly do apologize to our Red Line customers for the inconvenience this morning.”

Because the repair work happened in a central location that all Red Line trains pass through, “the effects were felt from one end of the Red Line to the other,” he says.

The situation was complicated further at the Woodley Park station, where brake problems forced a train to offload its passengers onto an already crowded platform.

Passengers there said they had waited about an hour for a train. Metro put delays at 30 to 40 minutes, but did say certain spots saw more significant backups because of passenger volume.

Many riders, like David Minier of Rockville,Md., chose to wait outside in the rain instead of stand in the crowded station. He had given up hope on getting a train.

“Once they sit for more than 15 minutes, they’re not moving,” he reasoned, choosing instead to make a phone call and wait for a bus.

Esther Langan, of the District, also decided to use another option. When it comes to future delay times, she’s going to “just triple what Metro says,” Langan says.

Normal train service resumed at around 8:30 a.m., but stations remained backed up for an additional hour because of the sheer number of people waiting on platforms.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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