Metro riders endured insufferable crowding Thursday

Many riders found themselves stuck in the crowd at the L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail station on Thursday, June 23, 2016. A track problem near an adjacent station triggered delays during evening rush hour. (Courtesy Lindey Haake )
Many riders found themselves stuck in the crowd at the L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail station during evening rush hour Thursday, June 24, 2016 after debris on a track near an adjacent station triggered major delays. (Courtesy Lindey Haake ) (Courtesy Lindey Haake )
Rail riders crowd the platform at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, where the evening commute was plagued by major delays.  (Courtesy Spencer Brown via Twitter)
Rail riders crowd the platform at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station. Because of debris on tracks at a nearby station, inbound and outbound trains were forced to share a single rail line, causing major delays at the height of rush hour. (Courtesy Spencer Brown via Twitter) (Courtesy Spencer Brown via Twitter)
Rail riders crowd the platform at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, where the evening commute was plagued by major delays.  (Courtesy Anton Robbins via Twitter)
Rail riders crowd the platform at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, where the evening commute was plagued by major delays. (Courtesy Anton Robbins via Twitter) (Courtesy Anton Robbins via Twitter)
Residual crowding persists at the Gallery Place Metrorail station, where track debris triggered delays and forced inbound and outbound trains to share a single track on Thursday, June 23, 2016. (WTOP/Tiffany Arnold)
Residual crowding persists at the Gallery Place Metrorail station, where track debris triggered delays and forced inbound and outbound trains to share a single track on Thursday, June 23, 2016. (WTOP/Tiffany Arnold) (WTOP/Tiffany Arnold)
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Many riders found themselves stuck in the crowd at the L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail station on Thursday, June 23, 2016. A track problem near an adjacent station triggered delays during evening rush hour. (Courtesy Lindey Haake )
Rail riders crowd the platform at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, where the evening commute was plagued by major delays.  (Courtesy Spencer Brown via Twitter)
Rail riders crowd the platform at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, where the evening commute was plagued by major delays.  (Courtesy Anton Robbins via Twitter)
Residual crowding persists at the Gallery Place Metrorail station, where track debris triggered delays and forced inbound and outbound trains to share a single track on Thursday, June 23, 2016. (WTOP/Tiffany Arnold)

WASHINGTON —Debris on the tracks added an extra layer of delays along Metro’s Green and Yellow Lines on Thursday, causing crowded platforms and leaving many riders airing out frustrations on social media during evening rush hour.

“There were so many people that I just pretty much stood in one spot for 10 minutes or so, just not even moving,” said Lindey Haake of D.C., who got stuck in the crowd while trying to exit L’Enfant Plaza station.

The Metrorail system was already experiencing delays due to a system wide SafeTrack initiative, planned waves of disruptions and shutdowns needed to improve safety. But debris found on the tracks near Gallery Place slowed things down even more.

Inbound and outbound trains were forced to share a single track between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Meanwhile, the number of commuters gathered on the already crowded platform increased, leaving many riders looking to social media to vent.

“It wasn’t even safe,” said Haake, who was tweeting during the ordeal. “If something had happened, like a fire, we wouldn’t have had anywhere to go.”

Haake said people on trains were unable to exit and those trying to get onto trains couldn’t enter because no one could move.

The operator on the train told riders about delays due to a track problem, but riders didn’t get any other assistance or information once they got off the train.

“Just getting there [to L’Enfant Plaza Station] and not seeing any Metro workers helping direct people was kind of strange,” Haake said.

Metro spokesperson Morgan Dye said Metro’s Safe Track work played a part in creating very crowded platforms.

“It should come as no surprise that L’Enfant was more crowded than usual. It is handling many customers who normally use the Blue Line during Surge 2,” Dye said in an email to WTOP.

Dye said in an email to WTOP that Metro Transit Police officers were at both Gallery Place and L’Enfant Plaza stations dealing with not only the crowds but a fight-in-progress call.

As for the duration of the single tracking period, Dye said after the debris was removed from the tracks near Gallery Place, the track had to be inspected and a test train sent through the area, before normal service could resume.

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