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Posted at 2:23 PM ET, 01/18/2011

Respiratory problems prompt train stop

By Washington Post Editors
Mark Berman

4:54 p.m. Update: A CSX freight train sickened seven railroad workers working on a railroad bridge near the Anacostia River in Southeast, said fire department spokesman Pete Piringer.

The workers were employees contracted by CSX to work on a railroad bridge near 3200 D St SE. When a train passed shortly after 1 p.m., the workers complained of chest and head ailments, Piringer said. Emergency workers evaluated the employees and a hazmat team tested the air quality and ran other safety tests, Piringer said. No substances were found and none of the workers were transported. The train was later stopped by CSX in Jessup for further evaluation, Piringer said.

-- Theola Labbé-DeBose

4:40 p.m. Update: A CSX train had passed contractors who were working near the Anacostia River and later complained of having respiratory issues, CSX Spokesman Robert Sullivan said, noting the exact timing of when they had issues and when the train passed is unclear.

The 98-car train had 18 cars labeled for hazardous material, however only three of them were full, he said. The train was stopped in Jessup and inspected by the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. Sullivan said the fire department reported no issues and the train was cleared to move on.

-- Jennifer Buske

4:30 p.m. Update: The Camden Line has reopened between Washington and Baltimore,, according to the MTA. Northbound trains will operate through to Camden Station, Trains are single-tracking between Savage and Dorsey.

4:06 p.m. Update: On the Camden Line, CSX halted a train after workers on an Anacostia River bridge reported respiratory illness after a CSX train passed. The train was stopped near Jessup, where there is little population near the tracks, so authorities could investigate.

The CSX train was 98 cars long, of which 14 carried hazardous chemicals. The Camden Line shares the tracks on that line with CSX freight traffic, as the Brunswick Line does in Rockville.

-- Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

3:52 p.m. Update: MARC's Camden Line has reopened between Washington and Savage, Md. Passengers will transfer to buses at Savage to complete trips to stations beyond that. MARC said passengers headed for Camden Yards should ride the Penn Line to Penn Station and take the light rail service to Camden Station.

There is no southbound Camden Line service, MARC said. Passengers are encouraged to use the Penn Line.

We are awaiting word from CSX on what caused the shutdown.

3:46 p.m. Update: Since the Brunswick Line has resumed service MARC is shifting buses to serve Camden Line passengers. Passengers can ride the Penn Line to Odenton or BWI, and the plan is for buses to shuttle passengers to Camden Line stations.

3:40 p.m. Update: The Brunswick Line has reopened. The MTA says trains should operate with minimal delays. The Camden Line remains closed.

3:14 p.m. Update: A Pepco spokesman says that one of their electrical lines came in contact with two other lines, but crews still have not determined the cause. The wire should be back in place by 4 p.m., Pepco said.

-- Kafia Hosh

3:10 p.m. Update: Metro has resumed service between Shady Grove and Twinbrook, according to Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel.

2:45 p.m. Update: An MTA spokesman says the Camden Line situation involves a CSX train and referred inquiries to that company. However, he says the line may reopen soon.

Meanwhile, the MTA is making the Metro option available for free to riders. However, since the Red Line is stopped on the western end that won't do you much good.

2:41 p.m. Update: The MTA now reports that service on the Camden Line has been suspended due to police activity between Savage and Dorsey. The Camden Line connects Washington and Baltimore.

Officials advise that passengers should ride the Penn Line. Most of the buses are being routed to deal with the Brunswick shutdown.

2:36 p.m. Update: MARC estimates that service on the Brunswick Line will resume at 4 p.m. Officials are still making alternate arrangements and stress that the 4 p.m. time is is not firm.

2:20 p.m. Update: Service on MARC's Brunswick Line has been suspended due to the power line problem, according to MTA offcials. MARC is making alternate transportation arrangements.

The Brunswick Line carries passengers between Washington and points north and west, including Frederick and Martinsburg, W. Va.

Check back for updates.

12:51 P.M. UPDATE: The Maryland Transit Administration is "monitoring the situation, according to spokesman Terry Owens, to see if commuter trail passengers will be affected. The next MARC train is not due out of Washington until 3:35 p.m. and officials hope the situation will be resolved by then, he said.

12:32 P.M. UPDATE: Pepco confirms that its crews are on site working to raise the line. However, they have no estimate on when the work may be completed or what brought down the line, according to a company spokesman.

"Right now they're determining how much damage was done, and once they determine that they'll have a better sense of how long the work will take," said Andre Francis, a Pepco spokesman.

-- Kafia A. Hosh
12:15 P.M. UPDATE: WUSA is reporting that the problem with wires above the tracks is also expected to affect service for CSX and MARC trains. A report on WUSA's Web site says that Montgomery officials expect Indianola Drive to be closed all day.

11:43 A.M. UPDATE: Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel reports that Pepco is on the scene. However, there is no estimated time on when rail service may resume through the area.

The problem is occurring at Indianola Drive, Taubenkibel said.

"We'll get trains moving when it's deemed safe," he said.

10:20 A.M. UPDATE: The Red Line problems continue. There is currently no train service between Twinbrook and Shady Grove, according to Metro spokesman Reggie Woodruff.

Electrical wires are hanging down above the tracks, which led to the suspension of service, he said. Woodruff said Pepco has been contacted to come assess the situation.

In the interim, shuttle buses have been requested but expect big delays as the buses operate less efficiently -- and carry fewer people -- than the trains.

Check back for more details. Is this affecting you? Post a comment below and tell us what you are experiencing.

9:40 A.M. UPDATE:

The Red Line delays stemming from the earlier situation at Tenleytown have been cleared, according to Metro.

9:02 A.M. UPDATE:

The situation at Tenleytown has been resolved, but delays remain in both directions, according to Metro.

8:56 A.M. UPDATE:

The delays heading to Glenmont due to the sick customer at Twinbrook have been cleared up. But big delays remain due to the situation at Tenleytown, slowing trains in both directions.

8:45 A.M. UPDATE:

Delays continue on the Red Line due to the situation at Tenleytown. Trains are still single-tracking between Van Ness and Friendship Heights.

There are also different delays heading towards Glenmont due to a sick customer at Twinbrook, according to Metro. The situation has been resolved, but delays linger.

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

There's a burning insulator on the tracks that firefighters are investigating, according to the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services. Metro is going to shut down power to the insulator and it's under control, but riders should expect some delays, D.C. fire tweeted.

By Washington Post Editors  | January 18, 2011; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Next: Delays ahead in Manassas


I was on the platform at Shady Grove when service was suspended. I was going in late so that I could stop off at Dupont Circle for dr's appointment and then on to Union Station for work.

The WMATA staff on the platform were confused. The station manager and staff announced that there was a fire at Rockville station and that buses would shuttle passengers to Rockville, which of course turned out to be wrong.

I gave up and went back home. I live near the Shady Grove Metro so it wasn't a problem getting home.

As far as I can tell there have been no e-mail announcements about the curtailment of service. I'm on the e-mail list for so-called disruptions. I got several this morning, e.g., about Tenleytown and Wheaton/Glenmont. But nothing so far about the wires down between Shady Grove and Rockville. There must have been a glitch. :-( As usual.

Posted by: RockvilleBear | January 18, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

RE: Commuting from Shady Grove Station this morning--a nightmare!! The "shuttle bus service," as usual, was a disaster. At the Shady Grove Station, we waited for the alleged bus for over an hour--with no one from Metro or the station giving us any direction or information. A good number of people (particularly those with planes or Amtrak trains to catch) gave up and left. The crowding on the shuttle bus, after it eventually arrived, was nearly intolerable. (The bus driver was very pleasant, though--friendly and apologetic over the delays.) I realize that Metro was caught by surprise by this morning's events--and that they need to FIND busses to transport all the passengers--but the Metro riders would sincerely appreciate COMMUNICATION from the station manager or anybody! If it's going to take an hour for a shuttle bus to arrive, then tell us! We're standing out in the cold, calling our offices, without any clue as to when we're getting to our destination. This wasn't my first experience with the "shuttle bus shuffle," but it'll be my last--the next time I hear "shuttle bus service has been requested," I'll hail a cab, start hitchhiking or walking.

Posted by: neelyohara | January 18, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Why do they need to suspend service between Twinbrook and Shady Grove if the lines down are between Shady Grove and Rockville? The least Metro could do is run the trains up to Rockville.

Posted by: B-rod | January 18, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

keeping my fingers crossed that Pepco has things clear by the evening commute. Having both MARC and Metrorail down makes things a bit trickier than usual since Metro's shuttle bus service has not been impressive in the past. Any tips on how to get back to the boonies, Dr. Gridlock?

Posted by: kickabout | January 18, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Metro is such a piece of crap system. With all of the money congress is supposedly going to cut from everything else, can they please bring metro up to modern safety and reliability standards and install a staff and board who a) care about their jobs and b) can take constructive criticism from NTSB.

Posted by: HappyArmyWife | January 18, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

B-rod, maybe the circuit they had to kill runs down to Twinbrook. Or maybe the access point to the tracks they need to use is on the Twinbrook side? All supposition on my part, but I'm willing to bet Metro'd run up to Rockville if they could. It would sure cut down on their shuttle service needs if they did and reduce rider irritation by leaps and bounds.

Posted by: kickabout | January 18, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

B-rod, maybe the circuit they had to kill runs down to Twinbrook. Or maybe the access point to the tracks they need to use is on the Twinbrook side? All supposition on my part, but I'm willing to bet Metro'd run up to Rockville if they could. It would sure cut down on their shuttle service needs if they did and reduce rider irritation by leaps and bounds.

Posted by: kickabout | January 18, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Re: Why Twinbrook and not Rockville...

There's an interlocking switch just north of Twinbrook which is how Metro must be turning trains around. It's easier, and probably safer, to turn them around there rather than send them up to Rockville and come back down.

Posted by: Mainland | January 18, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I've only lived in DC for two years and ride the red line into Gallery Place. It's sad but I have already accepted the fact that Metro will NEVER be fixed. If killing people won't inspire you to fix your problems, nothing will. Everyday there is something, escalator, elevator, train door malfunction, and then to add insult to injury you raise your fares. At what point will I start to just drive into work?

Posted by: stuckintraffictoo | January 18, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Just a second here. How can MARC simply CLOSE the Camden Line with no options for those of us who are already in town and have nowhere to go?

Is this where we need a lawyer to sue someone for $54 million?????

Posted by: bs2004 | January 18, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Alternate routes to avoid the shuttle bus shuffle:

Going to Rockville:
Take Red Line to Twinbrook and take Ride-on 46 (towards Montgomery College) to Rockville

Take Red Line to Bethesda and take Ride-on 47 to Rockville.

Take Red Line to Glenmont and take 49 to Rockville.

Take Red Line to Wheaton and take metrobus Q6 to Rockville.

Going to Shady Grove:

Take Red-Line to Twinbrook, take Ride-On 46 to Rockville, take Ride-On 55 to Shady Grove.

Take Red-Line to Twinbrook, take Ride-On 46 to Rockville, take metrobus Q6 to Shady Grove.

Take Red-Line to Twinbrook, take Ride-On 46 to Rockville, take Ride-On 63 to Shady Grove.

Take Red-Line to Wheaton, take metrobus Q6 to Shady Grove.

Take Red-Line to Glenmont, take ride-on 53 to Shady Grove.

FYI, these routes work in reverse also. Please note these routes for future use. It's always a good idea to know other routes around your primary route. Usually faster (and less of a headache) than trying to deal with the (non existant) shuttle buses.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | January 18, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Cheers, UMDTerpsGirl! Far more comprehensive than what'd I'd pieced together. I'll be stashing the list in my little commuter emergency kit.

Posted by: kickabout | January 18, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

This morning, the conductor on my red line train to Shady Grove just kept announcing that we were stopped due to an emergency ahead and that she didn't know when we would be moving. Let me just say, after the 2009 crash, no one wants to hear that kind of announcement. Thank goodness for Twitter, which told me what was going on.

Posted by: runnergirl03 | January 18, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

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