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Red Line delays

Mark Berman

9:15 A.M. UPDATE: Metro says the Red Line delays should be clearing, but reports from the field indicate that people are having a difficult commute this morning.

Has your Red Line ride been miserable? Post a comment below or submit a photo.

8:45 A.M. UPDATE:
Now there are delays on the Red Line in both directions. The delays stemmed from a sick passenger at the Woodley Park station; while that's been resolved, the delays continue from that station in both directions.

6:15 A.M. UPDATE:
The delays have been cleared, according to Metro.

There are delays on the Orange Line heading towards Vienna due to an earlier train malfunction at New Carrollton.

By Mark Berman  | July 20, 2010; 5:38 AM ET
Categories:  Metro, Red Line  | Tags:  metro delays, orange line delays  
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Please explain how a sick passenger can cause delays on a large scale rail network?

Posted by: betlwayball | July 20, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Metro is a joke and the sick people are selfish, get your a$$ off the train before you get sick instead of holding everyone up. You know if you arent feeling well. Im tired of these tourists as well pushing and shoving, YOUR ON VACATION F'IN RELAX, let people get to WORK!!!!

Posted by: pjohn1 | July 20, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain what a "sick customer" is, and why they can't just get off the train to get medical attention? I can't imagine that this many heart attacks are happening on the metro....

Posted by: jrutter21 | July 20, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Dr. G...I'd like to see some coverage of the above and why, after we repeatedly detail the lack of enforcement in Metro with food and common civility, this can occur.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 20, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"sick passenger" is usually code for a suicide or accidental death on the tracks. the trains are delayed to give emergency workers time to secure the area, and because metro does not want passengers to see a dead or seriously injured person.

Posted by: amdc1 | July 20, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

amdc1 thats flat out BS. Those incidents get reported in the newspaper. Plus it takes A LOT more time to clear that up. Even in Japan, where the train systems are run by COMPETENT people, the delay is usually about an hour.

Posted by: jrutter21 | July 20, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I thought "sick passenger" meant they were unable to leave the train unassisted, and/or were unconscious.

Posted by: informedtraveller | July 20, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

amdc1 is wrong--"sick passenger" does NOT mean suicide or accidental death on the tracks!! It can mean heart attack, stroke, fainting, or just "upchucking."
But it's still unclear to me (or anyone else who was caught in this morning's delays) why one sick passenger needs to inconvenience thousands and thousands of other people. I've been riding Metro for years, and I've lost count of how many delays I've encountered due to a "sick passenger." By all means, do whatever's necessary to help the ill person--but there's got to be a faster, more efficient way to do it than is currently in place. Of course, WMATA can't seem to do anything "efficiently"!

Posted by: neelyohara | July 20, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

neelyohara (and others), "sick passenger" delays occur because the train is waiting for emergency personnel to arrive to aid the passenger. Usually it's someone who is incapacitated/unconscious. So let's say you see someone go into cardiac arrest on a train. You call 911 and maybe another passenger uses the call box at the end of the car to inform the train operator. No one is going to move that passenger from the train to the platform (or at least you really shouldn't and I wouldn't for fear of a lawsuit). If you had a heart attack or passed out on a train, would you want someone to just pick you up and throw you onto the platform? Doubt it. So you have to sit there and wait for paramedics to get there. That can be a 10-15 minute wait. Then paramedics arrive and they have to work on the passenger (another 5-10 minutes, maybe longer if they end up not transporting the person). So I could easily see a 30 minute delay from a "sick passenger".

In the meantime, since the stopped train is blocking 1 track, they start single tracking, but that takes coordination and in the time it takes for single tracking to begin, the trains back up, causing a ripple effect of delays throughout the line. Yes it's an inconvenience, but with thousands and thousands of people riding metro every day, it's not surprising it happens.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | July 20, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

How hard would it be to train station managers on how to remove a sick person from a train? It's not like they have spinal injuries and can't be moved.

Posted by: jiji1 | July 20, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

This "why can't they go get sick somewhere else so they don't mildly inconvenience me and my monotonous daily routine" attitude is deplorable.

Do you really think these people - who are no different than your superlative self or I - have any control over the time, place or method of their ailment or injury? They have had the terrible misfortune of becoming ill while riding on the Metro, a circumstance I'm sure none of us would willingly select.

The least we can do for our fellow riders in their time of need would be to understand the difficulties - possibly life-threatening - that they face, and just maybe practice a little patience while those trained in assisting the infirm take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all riders.

After all, one day you might be that sick customer.

Posted by: HydroxCookies | July 20, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but for the metro policy defenders out there, I'm having a tough time believing that these are spinal chord injuries, and that heart attacks, strokes, etc are happening so frequently on metro that it slows it down a few times a day. I'm having a tough time believing that in every case, its impossible to move that person 15 feet to a bench to receive medical attention. I understand that if the situation is dire, yeah ok it needs to be held up. But I haven't seen this happen every single day when i've taken the train on other systems, which have MUCH more riders than DC Metro.

Posted by: jrutter21 | July 20, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

@jrutter21 and others: actually, in most cases when someone is sick but able to move off the train, the person probably does move off the train, or get help to move off the train: It is just that you would never hear about any of those cases, or even know that someone felt sick UNLESS it caused a delay. By definition, we only experience a delay for the more severely sick customers, and have little or no way of detecting the less severely sick customers.

Considering the tens of thounsands of people that use Metro daily, the many tourists, and all of the lurching stop and go's we experience, AND the poorly ventilated cars and crowded conditions, I'm surprised we have so FEW instances of people severely sick.

@HydroxCookies, nicely said.

Posted by: informedtraveller | July 21, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Given the ridiculous heat inside many of the cars, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the sick customer was someone with a heat related ailment. I'm in good health and often feel woozy and nauseous on a hot, jerking car.

Posted by: runnergirl03 | July 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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