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Delays on Yellow and Blue lines

Stations are jammed, some trains are being offloaded and progress is generally very slow.

By Luke Rosiak  | August 5, 2010; 6:49 PM ET
Categories:  Blue Line, Metro, Yellow Line  
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Comments

Our Franconia-bound Blue line train was off-loaded at Arlington Cemetery. Outdoors. In the pouring rain. With lightning. The train needed to be turned around to service the Largo direction. Couldn't they have off-loaded us inside at Rossyln or Pentagon (where 20 percent of the riders were going)?

Posted by: BGCHEN | August 5, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Where's the publicity on the above comment by BGChen? Not sure if we were on the same train, but my Franconia-bound blue line train was also off-loaded at Arlington Cemetery in the pouring rain. But it gets better! The next train that came of course was too packed to get in, and the train after THAT one was off-loaded, too! So we now had TWO off-loaded trains' worth of people, some without umbrellas, waiting. I never heard an explanation given by Metro, but then again, I was trying to entertain my four-year-old (we're regular Metro commuters) and share my umbrella with another commuter at the same time. Most of us kept a sense of humor about it, but seriously, Metro--WHAT IS UP?????? You take my money and leave me stranded (where can you walk to from Arlington Cemetery??) in the rain? You're turning a country song into my life!

Posted by: wheresmydream | August 6, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

BG, was I on your train? I had the same experience. Crossed over to the other side to go back to Rosslyn (why couldn't the reversed train have taken us back?), which was nigh unto impossible as everyone was crammed under cover (understandably.)

See, as Metro & Dr. Gridlock advise, I make backup plans. I was headed to Crystal City; from the Pentagon I can find a bus or have my wife drive up and get me; from Rosslyn & can get a cab or spousal transport, if need be, as well, or figure out a couple of backup plans. This is the second time in three months I've been offloaded at Arlington Cemetery, where THERE ARE NO REASONABLE ALTERNATES. I mean, I contemplated raising the dead from their graves to carry me home on their backs, but didn't really wanted to desecrate the heroes there, and besides, my Necronomicon doesn't come in pocket size.

I know Metro can't be blamed for storm damage messing up the evening. Stuff happens and I will be patient, if everyone will behave sensibly. So, for the love of all that is decent and intelligent, Metro, STOP DUMPING ENTIRE TRAINS AT ARLINGTON CEMETERY WHEN MORE HUB-LIKE STATIONS ARE ONE STOP IN EITHER DIRECTION.

Posted by: Stevis16 | August 6, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Heckuva job, Metro!

Seriously, we need riots. Now.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 6, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

As to riots.... Dr. Gridlock may not have been around at the time but he should use Google to find previous Washington Post writeups of the "Cherry Blossom Mutiny" in 1999. That actual seems pretty benign in comparison to the complaints I see here today.

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22cherry+blossom+mutiny%22&hl=en&safe=off&filter=0

Posted by: Virginiadude1 | August 6, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I was on the train behind what I believe to be the first train offloaded at Arlington Cemetery. Our fairly empty train pulled in at approx. 6pm after notification that the train ahead was offloaded and turned around. Here's the thing though...it made the most sense to offload the trains at Arlington Cemetery and NOT Rosslyn or Pentagon. Here's why:

There's no switch at Rosslyn to reverse onto. In the direction of Franconia there is a switch before pulling into Foggy Bottom. To get the train on the right track to turn around on you'd have to switch at Foggy. And even then, you're effectively running a train on a one way track to Rosslyn and back, all the while holding up trains behind at places like Mcpherson since they can't move until that train gets to Rosslyn and reverses back to Foggy.

It's much the same at Pentagon. A train can't just pull into Pentagon and reverse in the opposite direction. It would have to switch over at Arlington, go all the way to Pentagon on the wrong track, then come all the way back before any other trains could continue.

Given the circumstances yesterday, it was faster and kept far more trains moving to offload and turnaround at Arlington Cemetary.

Posted by: Mainland | August 6, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Mainland--thanks for the logical explanation. At least we have one now, which is more than we got from Metro. And that's part of the point--passengers were not told what was happening, but were just left out in the rain (it was close to an hour before we could squish on to another blue line train). As BGCHEN noted, many of us were going to the Pentagon, so it would have made more sense, given the weather and the fact that the Pentagon is more of a "hub" station (which Foggy Bottom is not), to drop us off there. My son and I missed our commuter bus at Pentagon given the massive delay and had to (as Stevis16 said) use a back-up plan, which was have my husband drive all the way from Chantilly to get us (and we were soaked). I understand that Metro has weather and technical restrictions, but some common sense about communication and passenger health (elderly woman out in the rain, guy with a cane out in the rain, baby in a stroller out in the rain) would be much appreciated, especially in light of the new deluxe prices we are being charged.

Posted by: wheresmydream | August 6, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I understand they can't just switch cars at any point along the track. So the question is: why weren't we told we were going to offload before we left Rosslyn? Give people the option to get off the train there and find an alternate route. Instead we were told we would offload after we pulled out of the Rosslyn station.

And what happened to email notifications? I did not get an email from WMATA about the blue line situation until 7 (and that was to say the situation was cleared but delays continue), more than an hour after I entered at Foggy Bottom. I saw later that Twitter was updated, but I don't want to slog through tweet posts looking for WMATA updates.

Posted by: djh5 | August 6, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Where the train can be reversed has nothing whatsoever to do with where you get the people off. Let them off at Rosslyn, pull the empty train forward, then turn it around. It wouldn't have been slower--assuming it takes the same amount of time to offload no matter where you do it, and I argue that with someplace for the crowd to go, it would have been faster at Rosslyn!

So, no, Mainland, despite your correct description of the physical limitations, offloading at ANC is still a logistical mistake.

Posted by: Stevis16 | August 6, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Where the train can be reversed has nothing whatsoever to do with where you get the people off. Let them off at Rosslyn, pull the empty train forward, then turn it around. It wouldn't have been slower--assuming it takes the same amount of time to offload no matter where you do it, and I argue that with someplace for the crowd to go, it would have been faster at Rosslyn!

So, no, Mainland, despite your correct description of the physical limitations, offloading at ANC is still a logistical mistake.

Posted by: Stevis16 | August 6, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

@wheresmydream

Thanks. Unfortunately, I think Metro is in a bit of a catch-22. An explanation of track schematics and how it causes the train you're on to reverse course is a lot for the train operator to say, especially when he/she has to monitor the radio commands from central. A press release after the fact? Maybe that's better?

@djh5
It's possible that central command didn't inform the operator until after leaving Rosslyn. I was in the very front of my train and able to hear the communication. Our operator communicated to us quickly after he got word from central (And just after we picked up a ton of people at A.C!) that we would be offloaded ourselves at Pentagon City.

Posted by: Mainland | August 6, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm not blaming the operator at all, Mainland. I'm blaming the people at central command who allowed that to happen. That decision just can't get made--the train has to offload people somewhere where it is safe to do so. One lightning strike could have injured 200+ people--none of whom had any choice about being at an outdoor station at the time.

Alternatively, why offload us? I had to head back to Rosslyn anyway to catch a cab. Take me with the train that's reversing!

Posted by: Stevis16 | August 6, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Central control was also where they decided it would be a good idea to send six- instead of eight-car trains through the system despite massive delays.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 6, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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