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Wires cleared from tracks in S.S.

Update 8:30pm: In the words of Metro's online service announcements, after a long day of troubles: "Disruption cleared." Trains are single-tracking between Forest Glen and Silver Spring. MARC service on the Brunswick line has just been restored, as well.

Update 6:20: The "rescue train" has pulled up directly in front of the stranded Red Line train and passengers are stepping directly from the last car of their wire-tangled train to a car of the other train. Those passengers will, after more than two and a half hours, be returned to where they stared: Forest Glen.

An Amtrak train to Chicago is holding at Union Station. According to MARC, the right-of-way may be open in about 30 minutes, or around 7pm.

Previously: Forty-one passengers have been confined to a Red Line train with a live electrical wire underneath it for more than two hours after power lines fell onto Red Line and railroad tracks just north of Silver Spring station before 3:50 today. Red Line service is cut off at Silver Spring, and MARC and Amtrak service has ground to a halt, also stranding potentially hundreds of Brunswick Line riders. Metro commuters going further than Silver Spring will not be able to get there by rail.

A rescue train has been dispatched for the Red Line train, but passengers aren't being unloaded until PEPCO deactivates the wire, Metro said. PEPCO is now on the scene.

Emergency officials saw power outages, traffic lights without power, and heard an explosion that could have been a blown transformer, Montgomery County EMS Capt. Oscar Garcia said.

As of 5:20 p.m., the wires were still live on the tracks and under a Metro train, he said. The rescue Metro train was expected to arrive from the Forest Glenn station, get close to the stationary train, collect the 41 passengers, and take them back to Forest Glen, Garcia said.

Next to the Metro train is a CSX freight train, which also has wires under it. About a quarter mile away is a MARC train with a headlight on that is not moving. It doesn't appear to have wire issues, but can't get through the scene, Garcia said.

Spring Street is closed between 16th Street and Georgia Ave. and several traffic lights are out at major intersections further north on Georgia Ave., potentially causing significant delays on the roads, too.

MARC spokesman David Clark said that downed power lines on a CSX track--plus a downed tree near Kensington--had forced MARC to stop all traffic on its Brunswick Line. MARC tickets are being honored by Metro. Clark said efforts were underway to "establish a bus bridge to go further west." Commuters can also take Ride-on buses from Silver Spring to Rockville.

No injuries were reported, said Cpl. Dan Friz, a Montgomery County Police spokesman. ''It's more of a commuter headache than anything,'' he said.

Metro says riders should use the Q2 & Y8 Metrobuses, which will be free, but major crowding and delays are likely.

A witness, Valerie Price, told NBC that she saw and heard a loud explosion when power lines fell and hit a tree, and then the Metro tracks. She said there was sparking near a train near the wires, and said the driver of the Metro train got out to assess the situation.

This picture, taken shortly after the situation began, shows several trains--both Metro and MARC--holding at the station, while growing crowds take cover from rain under the platform.ss3.jpg

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--Luke Rosiak, Ann Scott Tyson and Dan Morse

This post has been updated

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Red Line  
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It's the Red Line. Of course there's problems. There are always problems on the Red Line. And we get to pay more than ever before for the "privilege" of riding it.

Posted by: faygokid | July 29, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Does that mean I can get off at Silver Spring if I am headed outbound?

Posted by: chiquita2 | July 29, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"It's the Red Line. Of course there's problems. There are always problems on the Red Line. And we get to pay more than ever before for the "privilege" of riding it.

Posted by: faygokid | July 29, 2010 4:10 PM"

What an idiot you are! This is not Metro's fault. You should direct your rant where it belongs - at Pepco or whatever caused electrical wires to fall across the tracks.

Posted by: flwood2341 | July 29, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

As of 4:52 pm, there is nothing about this on Metro's webpage. ????

Posted by: drmary | July 29, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The WMATA web employee gets off at 430pm

Posted by: Robbnitafl | July 29, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Metro doesn't go to Riverdale...

Posted by: DOEJN | July 29, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of crybabies. It's nobody's fault. A storm caused a power line to fall.

People in this region need to grow up, and SUCK IT UP when life dishes out some inconveniences. Weather happens, so deal with it.

p.s. Wmata has a big message on their homepage. Apparently they work later than you.

Posted by: info23 | July 29, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous. Its takes two hours for PEPCO to deactivate a line. That's crazy. Shut down the line, cut it and pull it out from under the train. Should be half an hour. This is an emergency folks.

Posted by: hmrc1 | July 29, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

"Metro doesn't go to Riverdale..."

Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead are very unhappy to hear this news.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 29, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I heard about the problem and since I take the red line to Glenmont from Judiciary Square to get home, I decided that rather than take the train to Silver Spring and try to cram on a bus to get to Glenmont, I'd take the train to Shady Grove and take a bus back to my neighborhood in Olney. Unfortunately, the Shady Grove trains were delayed and because the Nats game got out around that time, the trains were packed. I stood the entire way and was extremely uncomfortable (foot cramp, back pain), but I realized that this was not Metro's fault and the train operator was very communicative with us about what the problem was. However, they need to do something about the hand rails on the back of the seats in the older cars. The vinyl substance breaks down and gets sticky and disgusting. What's worse is one of them was actually emitting some kind of brown liquid. They need to replace those things with metal bars. They're a hazard to health and clothes!

Posted by: sophiamaria | July 29, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

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