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Hot weather travel tips

MARC Train 538.jpg
MARC rider Nicole Cohen sent photo of stranded passengers on Train 538 at about 8:20 p.m.

Probe launched into stalled train

Temperatures will stay in the 90s through Sunday, the Capital Weather Gang says. AAA Mid-Atlantic reported a spike in roadside assistance calls. MARC issued an apology to the passengers stranded in the hot cars of Train 538 Monday evening. Metro riders are complaining about the heat aboard the trains and in stations. Here are some survival tips.


Driving
These are some tips from AAA for auto safety in the heat.
-- Avoid breakdowns by checking: the car's coolant tank and radiator, hoses and belts, tires, oil, battery, air and fuel filters.
-- Have these items in the car, in case you do break down: flashlight with extra batteries, warning devices, such as flares or reflective triangles, first aid kit, a fully charged cell phone.
-- Don't even think about leaving the kids or the elderly in a parked car. (And as VADave notes in the comments below, "Don't forget the pets.")
-- Carry liquids for yourself and the others in the car. Encourage your passengers to drink more than their thirst requires. Children dehydrate much faster than adults.
-- After returning home, always remove the child first before removing the groceries and shopping bags.
-- If your child is in day care, make sure the center and workers have a plan that safeguards children from being left alone on buses, vans or in cars.
-- If you spot a child locked in a car on a hot day, call 911 right away.

Transit
-- Metrorail cars have their own cooling units. If it's hot in your car, it might be much cooler in the next car. Don't just sit there.
-- Help your fellow passengers by reporting the problem, either to the operator over the intercom, or by calling 202-637-1328 or by filling out this Metro comment form. Remember to tell them the car number.
-- Those 1000 Series cars in the middle of the trains, they're the oldest. I wouldn't sit in them in this heat. While any car could have a malfunction with the air conditioning, those 1000s have the most aged equipment. That's where I think you're most likely to get over-heated.
-- Even if the system is working right, the cars won't chill your beer. There are three doorways on each side of the car to suck in hot air and release the cool. Trains that have recently entered service tend to be warmer, because the air conditioning hasn't had a chance to take effect.
-- Above ground, the sunlight shining on one side or the other of a train makes a big difference in the temperature.
-- In the stations, the wide open entrances, the presence of hundreds of passengers and the trains pushing warm air ahead of them all contribute to the heat.
-- The last underground station before the line goes above ground can be just ghastly. That's true at Union Station and at Ballston, for example.
-- Temperatures within the stations vary. Move around. In one of the portal stations, like Union Station, it may be slightly cooler on the side farthest from the outside air. During the summer, Metro puts big fans on some hot platforms. The fans are really nice.
-- On any of our rail systems -- MARC, VRE or Metrorail -- the line operators may order the trains to slow down for safety, because heat kinks can develop in the rails.

What other tips do you have for dealing with these conditions?

By Robert Thomson  | June 22, 2010; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  Driving  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Hot weather  
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Comments

DRIVE your air conditioned car. Quicker, far more reliable, and if work pays for or subsidizes parking, cheaper. Most of these "tips" are excuses for a terrible system. At best one can hope to arrive at work having sweat through an undershirt in double the amount of time it would take driving.

Posted by: djones13 | June 22, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

DRIVE your air conditioned car. Quicker, far more reliable, and if work pays for or subsidizes parking, cheaper. Most of these "tips" are excuses for a terrible system. At best one can hope to arrive at work having sweat through an undershirt in double the amount of time it would take driving.

Posted by: djones13 | June 22, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the pets. Dogs can overheat quickly in cars without air conditioning. If outside, give them plenty of water in a shaded spot. Better yet, bring them inside.

Posted by: VADave | June 22, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Metro should install sprinklers

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 22, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

-- Don't even think about leaving the kids or the elderly in a parked car. (And as VADave notes in the comments below, "Don't forget the pets.")
---------------------------

But yet MARC leaves a whole trainload of people stuck in a parked train where the windows don't open.

Is it really true that they had armed officers preventing people from leaving the dangerously hot train, despite the clear emergency evacuation instructions that are required to be posted inside the train? If so, that is sick.

Posted by: thetan | June 22, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Nazi pigs

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 22, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

When I first starting taking Metro to Union Station in the mid-90s, the A/C worked in that station. It wasn't as cool as a deep station like Dupont Circle or Bethesda, but you could definitely feel the cool air. But starting around 2007, the A/C just completely stopped working, and Union Station started to be the sauna it is now, which was one factor in why I stopped taking Metro.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 22, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

-- Metrorail cars have their own cooling units. If it's hot in your car, it might be much cooler in the next car. Don't just sit there. --

Is this supposed to mean that there are actually seats on the overheated cars?

My experience with rush hour on Metro is that cooler cars tend to be much more crowded, maybe because passengers who would have been in the overheated car have shifted to the others. (In effect, the train is shortened by the number of overheated cars) And at rush hour, it's a challenge to get onto *any* car on the orange line between Metro Center and Rosslyn - let alone move from one car to another.

Posted by: miseaujeu | June 22, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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