A Blue Line Metro train carrying 43 passengers derailed Friday morning outside Reagan National Airport after apparently hitting debris left behind on the track by another Metro train, according to the transit agency.
No injuries have been reported as a result of the derailment, which happened just before 11 a.m. The Blue Line train was heading southbound toward Franconia-Springfield.
A Metro spokesperson said a rescue train was sent to the derailed train in order to get riders back to the platform at National Airport. All passengers made it aboard the rescue train within 30 minutes after the derailment, according to Metro General Manager Randy Clarke.
According to Metro’s preliminary review of onboard video from the derailed 7000-series train, Clarke said there was an object on the tracks that appears to have caused the derailment.
Metro later released the video Friday.
Video shows incident today of Blue Line train at National Airport hitting an object on the track. Prelim inspection appears object came off of proceeding 2k/3k train. We are inspecting all 2k/3k trains and will provide additional updates. #wmata pic.twitter.com/DJ7mekZady
— Metro Forward (@wmata) September 29, 2023
“Indications show that the object was a component of a 3000-series train that preceded the incident train through the station,” Clarke said, adding that it appeared to part of the train’s brake assembly. That train was still able to complete its run before being pulled from service.
Because of that apparent issue with the 3000-series train, Clarke said he has now ordered all 2000- and 3000-series trains in the fleet to undergo a visual inspection. Clarke added that more detailed shop inspections of those trains will be done within the week, and that these inspections should not impact service.
Metro’s newer 7000-series trains have been under heavy scrutiny since an October 2021 derailment near Arlington Cemetery. Those trains were pulled from service after problems were discovered with their wheels, causing long-term delayed Metro service. Clarke said Friday’s derailment of a 7000-series train appears to have had nothing to do with that, and was caused solely by the object on the tracks.
“We have no indication, right now, that there’s any issue with the 7000-series train,” Clarke said. “This train was well within tolerance and it was measured within the approved procedure for our 7000-series trains.”
Rail service was initially suspended between the Potomac Yard and National Airport stations. Later, Metro restored scaled-back service. Blue Line and Yellow Line trains are only running every 24 minutes with single-tracking between Potomac Yard and Pentagon City.