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Metro Warns of Slowdown

With the temperature heading toward 100 degrees, Metro will conserve power this afternoon by spacing out the trains more and slowing them down.

"With these changes, passengers should prepare for delays and crowded conditions on all rail lines," Steven Feil, Metro's chief operating officer for rail, said in a statement.

There will be an extra couple of minutes between the trains on all lines, and speeds will fall to 45 mph in the above ground sections. The normal top speed is 59 mph.

The underground stations will get pretty hot. The cooling system is designed to regulate their temperature at 85 degrees. You can stand right underneath some of those brown pillars with the vents on top and feel absolutely no relief. Even though the rail cars and buses are supposed to keep the inside air 20 degrees cooler than the outside, when it gets this hot, and those doors are opening and closing all the time, you're going to feel only slightly better off than the people outside. This is not a day for business suits.

If you're at an above ground station, stay under the canopy. Even if you want to go for the first or last car because they might be less crowded, wait till the train is pulling in and then walk out. If you're fortunate enough to have a shelter at your bus stop, stay there, or walk over to a nearby shady spot and keep a lookout for the approaching bus.

If you're worried about whether an elevator or escalator is working at your rail station, Metro has a Web page that keeps track of that.

You can track the highway action, or inaction, on our Traffic page. The big events on the highways this morning involved trucks on interstates. The cleanup of frozen vegetable spill on I-270 backed up traffic on highways including the Beltway, Route 29, Rockville Pike and BW Parkway. Amazing how the aftermath of one accident can gum up everything, even in the middle of the summer. A jackknifed tractor trailer on I-395 closed all the southbound lanes.

It's a Code Orange day for air quality, according to the forecast, meaning the elderly and very young to be careful about going out. This is a one grade below a Code Red alert, so you still must pay the fare on the suburban buses.

Suburban rail wasn't having it too easy. There were problems on the Camden Line and on the Fredericksburg Line.

Thanks to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service: I saw those folks passing out bottles of water yesterday afternoon outside the Silver Spring Metro station. Nice work. And it's a good reminder to us all about taking along some water for today's commute.

By Robert Thomson  |  August 1, 2006; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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