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Blue, Orange, Silver line delays persist after fire

Passengers grabbing the first shuttles outside the Foggy Bottom Metro Monday morning.

WASHINGTON — A fire in the tunnel outside Metro’s McPherson Square station impacted commutes on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines through Monday evening, says the transit agency’s general manager.

Metro’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says single tracking continued between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle stations throughout the day, affecting the evening commute.

The fire damaged several cables that will need to be replaced Monday night in order to restore full service for Tuesday, Wiedefeld said Monday afternoon.

“If you have the ability to consider alternate travel options today, I encourage you to do so,” Wiedefeld said in a news release.

He says he directed that repairs start at 9 p.m. Monday, when ridership is lower. At that time, rail service will be suspended on both tracks between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle.

As of 5:25 p.m. Monday, Metro said the Orange and Blue lines had resumed normal stops in both directions at Farragut West and McPherson Square.

It is unclear whether service will be impacted Tuesday morning.

On Monday, Wiedefeld told reporters that there were reports at 4:30 a.m. of a fire in the tunnels. Firefighters responded, and the immediate problem was “cleared” by 6 a.m., but lingering damage spurred the single tracking service through the morning.

When asked to respond to growing frustration by riders who have experienced these delays during rush hour before, Wiedefeld said he understood.

“It’s a tough situation, right at the peak of the peak … the timing couldn’t have been worse from that perspective. Again, we just got to keep hammering away at the core issues, fix those, to prevent these incidents from happening.”

Rider Dodson Piokowsky appeared to be taking the morning inconvenience in stride.

“We got on this Metro train, it looks like there’s a problem,” he said. “Metro’s doing their best.”

WTOP’s Kathy Stewart and Sarah Beth Hensley contributed to this report.

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