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Passengers trapped in Red Line railcar

ORIGINAL POST: The doors on a red line train malfunctioned this morning, leaving some passengers unable to get out at the Farragut North station.

The train, headed from Shady Grove to Glenmont, stopped at Farragut North and on one car the doors did not open. The train operator announced that the doors, which had never opened, were closing, and bewildered passengers felt the train pull out of the station.

When the doors did not open at the next stop, Metro Center, passengers on one car used the emergency door opener device to pry open one of two doors and get out.

-- Emilio Garcia-Ruiz

10:45 a.m. UPDATE: When asked about the problem and whether the train was taken out of service, Metro responded with details on another incident:

Metro said a train on the Red Line did not stop at Farragut North this morning because it was off schedule and so was ordered to "express," or skip a station.

"This is a common occurrence," said Metro spokesman Reginal Woodruff. "Operators are required to advise customers when they are expressing, giving them the option to get off at a station before the station that will be passed through or continuing on to the next station," he said.

He added that he did not know whether the operator of the morning train made that announcement.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

By Michael Bolden  | June 4, 2010; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  Metro, Red Line  
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"...passengers on one car used the emergency door opener device to pry open one of two doors and get out"

I guess no one thought of using the intercom at the ends of the car to talk to the driver or walking to the cars attached to the malfunctioning car. Using the emergency door opener is a very dangerous act.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | June 4, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Wow how stupid are these people not to use the intercom? Let me guess, they had to take the train out of service after the door prying incident, inconvienencing everyone on the train.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | June 4, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Express trains don't stop in the station, they simply go slowly through. I'm not believing Metro's "explanation."

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 4, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Skipping downtown stations during rush hour? Are you kidding me? The announcements are so incomprehensible the only way to know where to get off is by looking out the windows.

Heads need to roll.

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 4, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I call nonsense on this one too. I was in the front car of a train behind that one, and could hear the communications from "central control". They were asking for the operator to report on the state of the doors at (I think) Judiciary Square, and were holding every train behind that one until they got the answer they wanted. So the trip in from Shady Grove to Union Station took over an hour. In my experience, when they skip a station, they make multiple announcements.

Posted by: mmaid | June 4, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I was on the train. Multiple calls on the intercom were not answered. The train did stop at all stations. The train was not on "Express". People on the train used cell phones to contact Metro. Metro radioed in to the train operator who did not respond. We could hear them calling from the car. The operator was oblivious to what was going on. People on the platform were trying to bring it to the operators attention, to no avail. Finally, people got tired of being held hostage by the oblivious operator, who was also driving the train very roughly, and pulled the emergency lever at Metro Center when the operator announced "doors closing". Something was not right there and action had to be taken. Now it would be interesting to hear what Metro has to say about the operator, the train, and the procedures.

Posted by: wpostreader99 | June 4, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I've been riding the redline from Shady Grove for 12 years. In my experience, when trains run "express," they only skip less busy stations, e.g., Rockville, Twinbrook, Medical center, and on occasion Woodley Park.

Trains NEVER run express through Farragut North. That is one of the busiest stations on the redline. The only time that trains roll through Farragut N w/o stopping is when the train is out of service.

Also, having ridden Metro for 25 years, 12 of those from Shady Grove to Union Station, I completely believe the post from wpostreader99. On a number of occasions, I have attempted to contact train operators on the intercoms, but my attempts went ignored; or else, the intercom system wasn't working. Either way, that's not good.

Posted by: RockvilleBear | June 4, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

OK, that explains why "central" seemed to be getting more irritated at not gettng an answer as time went on. Sometimes when there is a problem, the operator of the train I am on will cut the volume so the passengers cannot hear what is going on, but ours left it alone.

Posted by: mmaid | June 4, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

wpostreader99, thank you for your description of the situation. I take back my previous comment about not using the intercom. I probably just would have gone through the door at the end of the car to the next car to get out.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | June 4, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The doors did not open at Farragut North when it stopped AND Metro Center when it stopped. (Until passengers took matters into their own hands at Metro Center.) A train is not "Expressing" through a station that it is stopping and waiting and 'announcing' doors opening, doors closing. And when would a train EVER "Express" through Metro Center considering it is the primary hub for the entire operation. In the future, "Reginal Woodruff" of METRO needs to figure out what happened before commenting, because his answer does not reconcile in any form with the reality of what happened. Even the folks on the radio at "Central" were concerned and calling repeatedly. Considering they had an unresponsive operator of a train that was operating erratically resulting in passengers being trapped on board and calling Metro for rescue, the concern from Central is quite understandable ... especially in our Nations Capital.

Posted by: wpostreader99 | June 4, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

This is scary! I use a wheelchair. What would I do to get out of there? Metro is accessible? Not if I can't get out!

Posted by: dkf747 | June 4, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Come on Dr G (or whomever is working), WHERE is the follow-up?? You know, basic Journalism 101?

Posted by: ceebee2 | June 4, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

This is why people start getting sick on the Metro Cattle Cars. Not only are they too hot, too crowded, and surrounded by animals, but they're being held hostage too.

Posted by: fireball72 | June 4, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

We're still waiting for the follow-up and the real explanation.

Posted by: ceebee2 | June 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

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