Arcing insulators, service disruptions mar morning Red Line commute

WASHINGTON — Problems with two arcing insulators on Metro’s Red Line caused hours of headaches for Friday morning commuters before service was finally restored.

Issues affected subway riders in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as those traveling between D.C.’s Dupont Circle and Van Ness.

Around 8:15 a.m., Red Line service was temporarily suspended between Medical Center and Grosvenor due to an arcing insulator.

The Medical Center station was shut down while Montgomery County Fire and EMS investigated.

About an hour later around 9:15 a.m., a second arcing insulator outside Dupont Circle caused Metro to temporarily suspend service between Dupont Circle and Van Ness.

Shuttles for Dupont Circle are located at Connecticut Ave. and Q Street.

Shuttles for Van Ness are located at Connecticut Ave. and Veazey Terrace.

Ironically, a Metro-suggested alternative to the morning’s mess, the J5, is being cut this Sunday.

As of 10:30 a.m., trains were no longer single tracking between Medical Center and Grosvenor stations.

Shortly after, around 10:45 a.m., Metro restored service between Dupont Circle and Van Ness.

Metro riders directed their frustrations at WMATA online.

“[A]ren’t you embarrassed?” wrote one Twitter user. “1. Do you even get embarrassed about this ****? 2. When are we getting our refunds? 3. Do you really expect us to pay MORE? 4. Why????”

Others said they had been struggling to get anywhere at all.

“What about for those stranded at Cleveland Park? It’s been 40 min so far without any buses, even regular scheduled buses,” wrote another.

WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.




Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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