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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 12/16/2010

Major Red Line delays

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

This Week's Metro Delays: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday

10:15 A.M. UPDATE:

The cracked rail at Tenleytown has been repaired. However, big delays remain in both directions on the Red Line.

9:45 A.M. UPDATE:

For the fourth consecutive morning, travelers taking the Metro faced considerable delays in their commutes. A cracked rail at Tenleytown this morning has delayed travelers on the Red Line for two hours and counting, creating packed stations and considerable waits in both directions.

On Monday morning, there was a fire in the tunnels at Metro Center, followed in short order by a switch malfunction; both issues significantly delayed commuters on the Blue and Orange lines. Commuters traveling on Tuesday morning faced problems on the Red, Blue, Yellow and Orange lines, due to issues that included train malfunctions at Pentagon City, Rockville and Van Dorn Street. And Wednesday morning brought significant headaches caused by a Christmas ornament left in the garbage at the Pentagon station that resulted in the station being shut down.

The only line unaffected by delays so far this week has been the Green Line, though there is still one more morning commute before the weekend.

9:30 A.M. UPDATE:

We're closing in on two hours with the Red Line delays due to the cracked rail at Tenleytown, and reports from commuters on both sides of the Red Line voice what you might expect: Packed platforms, crowded trains unable to pick up more commuters and long, long waits.

9:05 A.M. UPDATE:

There is no update yet on when the repairs will be completed and the delays cleared, according to Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel. He says personnel are on the scene.

"People that are riding or connecting to the Red Line should give themselves addiitonal time," he said.

8:55 A.M. UPDATE:

The Post's Michael Ruane reports from Tenleytown that three outbound trains have gone through the station using the inbound track. But three inbound trains are posted on the arrival board, with one arriving momentarily.

8:50 A.M. UPDATE:

The Post's Emilio Garcia-Ruiz reports that at Friendship Heights, the platform is full and trains are too full to board anyone. Tenleytown is not as bad, he says. And trains are zooming once they pass Tenleytown, he reports.

8:25 A.M. UPDATE:

The Red Line delays are due to a cracked rail at Tenleytown, according to Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel. There's no timetable for when it will be resolved, as they are still waiting on personnel to make repairs, he said. The delays are in both directions and trains are still single-tracking.

8:15 A.M. UPDATE:

The Red Line delays continue in both directions. The Post's Emilio Garcia-Ruiz reports that trains moving towards downtown from Shady Grove are holding for about five minutes at each station, but his train is so full nobody can board.

7:40 A.M. UPDATE:

Trains are sharing the same track between the Cleveland Park and Friendship Heights stations due to a track problem outside of Tenleytown. There are delays in both directions on the Red Line.

6:57 A.M. UPDATE:
The delays have cleared, according to Metro.

There are Orange Line delays heading to New Carrollton. An earlier train malfunction at East Falls Church has been resolved, but delays linger.

By Mark Berman  | December 16, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Next: Review finds flaws in MARC rail


My usual 25 minutes commute took 70 minutes. I hate you Metro.

Fire Sarles.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | December 16, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Kinda ironic that this is happening the same day that the Post writes an article about how all the younger people are ditching their cars because they just LOVE public transportation!

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 16, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Hate the track, not Metro. Hate the lack of funding from the Feds, not Metro. Hate the beginning of the maintenance period after the initial building phase, not Metro. Hate that it's a victim of its own success, not Metro.

Posted by: crzytwnman | December 16, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Trying to make a call on when/how to get to work today. Can you give an estimate of how long a trip from dupont to white flint might take?

Posted by: smr5518 | December 16, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, but every single station in the direction of Shady Grove that I went through we stopped at for a few minutes. If we didn't stop for a few minutes at the station, we stopped for a few minutes between stations. There was no zooming. My 25 minute trip took about 75.

Posted by: crzytwnman | December 16, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Young people like Metro because if they put on earphones, it's basically a mosh pit.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 16, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

In addition to the Dupont escalators being out AGAIN my commute took 75 minutes instead of the usual 30. With the snow coming down I cannot wait to see what Metro has in store for the commute home....

Posted by: missyt25 | December 16, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

My 39 minute ride took 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Posted by: MartyGiles1 | December 16, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

If Redline trains run every 6 minutes on two tracks, then shouldn't single tracking cause a delay of 12 minutes, or maybe 18 minutes since trains have to run in opposite directions? My delay was 43 minutes, doubling my commute time. At one station, we sat for 10 minutes and no trains went by on the other track.

Posted by: ksargent2 | December 16, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

These delays could've been avoided had Metro built a 4-track system from the get-go. In other words - two tracks in each direction! That would allow trains to quickly bypass disabled trains or cracked rails.

Two tracks in each direction would also allow for local service (trains stopping at every station) and EXPRESS service (trains skipping several stations in a row and stopping only at transfer hubs and major stations). How cool would that have been?

These lengthy delays beg the question: Why isn't the Silver Line through Tyson's Corner being built with two tracks in each direction? That would certainly alleviate the delays and back-ups!!

Posted by: | December 16, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

There's no reason to build the Tyson's Line intelligently since it is just going to back up from Falls Church to Maryland.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 16, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The reason for 2 tracks instead of 3 or 4 is simple: cost.

2 tracks are the norm for subway systems. It would be great to have had the $$ to build more - and I bet they would have, if getting the metro was not a huge highway compromise to begin with. Having lines/stops that are closer together would be nice too, but the metro was made as a commuter service to compromise the DC highway plot... so we get what we get. (Like trying to go cross town is a pain, as nothing goes cross town until you are downtown). But that is where the buses come in.

I'm not young, but I like DC public transportation ALOT. I can walk, bike, cab, bus, metro or drive - that is options that keeps me living in a great city, and if more young folks are moving into the cities because of public transportation, I consider that a plus. Metro has huge problems, but I'll take DC everyday.

Posted by: Greent | December 16, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

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