Repeated Red Line suspensions lead to crowding, confusion

WASHINGTON — It was a rough Thursday morning to ride the Red Line.

Regular service on the Red Line was restored about 11 a.m. Thursday following repeated suspensions and single tracking after smoke was reported in the tunnel between Farragut North and Judiciary Square stations.

Metro said the second service suspension allowed track repairs at Metro Center.

Service was initially suspended for several hours between Dupont Circle and Gallery Place beginning around 7:30 a.m. Some service was temporarily restored about 8:50 a.m. after D.C. Fire and EMS investigated. Trains shared a single track between Farragut North and Judiciary Square.

Then about 10:20 a.m., Red Line service was halted once again for track repairs.

About a half-hour later, Metro said it had completed the repairs and resumed service, however the Red Line was single tracking between Farragut North and Judiciary Square.

Huge morning crowds outside the Dupont Circle Metro station Thursday morning amid reports of smoke in a tunnel. (WTOP/Sarah Nania)
Huge crowds line up outside the Dupont Circle Metro station Thursday morning amid reports of smoke in a tunnel. (Courtesy of Sarah Nania) (WTOP/Sarah Nania)
Huge morning crowds outside the Dupont Circle Metro station Thursday morning amid reports of smoke in a tunnel. (WTOP/Sarah Nania)
Huge crowds line up outside the Dupont Circle Metro station Thursday morning amid reports of smoke in a tunnel. (Courtesy of Sarah Nania) (WTOP/Sarah Nania)
Huge crowds line up outside the Dupont Circle Metro station Thursday morning amid reports of smoke in a tunnel. (Courtesy of Sarah Nania) (WTOP/Sarah Nania)
D.C. fire officials leave the scene where they were investigating smoke in a Metro tunnel Thursday morning. (Courtesy D.C. Fire & EMS)
D.C. fire officials leave the scene after investigating a report of smoke in a Metro tunnel Thursday morning. (Courtesy D.C. Fire & EMS) (Courtesy D.C. Fire & EMS)
(1/4)
Huge morning crowds outside the Dupont Circle Metro station Thursday morning amid reports of smoke in a tunnel. (WTOP/Sarah Nania)
Huge morning crowds outside the Dupont Circle Metro station Thursday morning amid reports of smoke in a tunnel. (WTOP/Sarah Nania)
D.C. fire officials leave the scene where they were investigating smoke in a Metro tunnel Thursday morning. (Courtesy D.C. Fire & EMS)

The smoke in the tunnel was described as a “light haze.” No injuries were reported.

The temporary shutdown snarled the morning commute for many and huge crowds formed outside of thee Dupont Circle Station.

Riders at Gallery Place tried to pack into shuttle buses provided by Metro. Tourists at the Red Line station were thrown for a loop and hunted down additional Metro staff for help.

The Blue, Orange and Silver lines were not affected at Metro Center, officials said, but shuttle service was in place for affected Red Line riders.

Metro has been plagued by track fires and safety concerns in recent years.

Data collected during the first three months of 2017 showed that the number of track fires held steady — or in some cases, trended higher.

The Federal Transit Administration ordered immediate safety changes to the system earlier this week.

In February, Federal Railroad Administration officer Robert Lauby called Metro’s lack of progress on safety issues “disturbing.”

Metrorail’s official Twitter account spent much of the morning apologizing to customers and asking for their input.

Follow all Metro developments in WTOP’s live blog.


Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up