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Orange Line Delays in Virginia

Another difficult afternoon commute on the Orange Line: Metro says delays caused by a power problem in Virginia will persist through the evening.

At 7:55 p.m., the Orange Line platforms were almost empty, but there still were good sized crowds on Orange Line trains heading toward Vienna. This was partly the result of a signal problem that slowed travel on all the lines. I was on one train that left Vienna at 6:22 p.m. and got to McPherson Square at 7:38 p.m. (Getting to and through the Rosslyn tunnel was just ghastly. After that, service was normal.)

The rest describes the situation as of 4:42 p.m.:
Vienna-bound Orange Line trains will operate 12 minutes apart between West Falls Church and Vienna, Metro says. Every other train will terminate at West Falls Church. Passengers going to Dunn Loring or Vienna will need to get off at West Falls Church and wait for the next train. New Carrollton-bound Orange Line trains are leaving from West Falls Church and Vienna.

(Metro's eAlerts, the e-mail messages to riders, are saying that a shuttle bus service has been established. Metro spokesman Cathy Asato says that is not correct, as of 4:42 p.m. The buses are on standby, but no shuttle has been established yet.)

Dunn Loring Station doesn't have power, Metro says. The elevators and escalators are not working. Metro will try to get them working using generators. At this time, Asato says, the fare gates are open at Dunn Loring to let passengers in and out. Riders will need to see the station manager in the morning to have their cards adjusted, she says.

On Friday, Metro says, Dominion Virginia Power lost an electrical feeder near Vienna Station. Today, Dominion's backup feeder near West Falls Church went out. Metro has been using power from its West Falls Church rail yard to help keep trains running.

If more power is lost, Metrobus will operate a free shuttle between Ballston and Vienna, with stops at East Falls Church, West Falls Church and Dunn Loring.

If power problems persist, the morning rush hour also will be affected, Metro says.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 21, 2008; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Today's trip home to Vienna really sucked. Is Michael Brown running Metro after his bang up job with FEMA? ;)

Posted by: PhilV | July 21, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I exited the Dunn Loring station at 7:45 and they had generators running. The fare stalls worked but the escalator and elevator didn't work.

Dr. Gridlock please ask Metro why the announcements and email kept saying the power problem was with VEPCO? They have gone by Dominion Power since August 2000 (I checked).

Also - when I got on the train at L'Enfant I asked the driver if he was going to Vienna or stopping at West Falls Church - he said he didn't know yet. I don't blame him but why on earth won't Metro let the drivers know when they start - seriously if they're doing every other train it should be easy to figure out.

Posted by: Dunn Loring | July 21, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Metro is just terrible every time it gets above 90 degrees. Additionally Metro's communication with their riders is shameful. I am so glad I left work early today. I beat the mess by 45 minutes.

Posted by: FairfaxGOP | July 21, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Summary of conditions Metro has difficulty operating under:

1) Temps over 90 degrees
2) Temps under 32 degrees
3) Winds over 30mph
4) Wet leaves
5) Snow over 1"
6) Ice/Sleet

Tell me again how they're going to handle a 32 mile above-ground extension to Dulles? Or will they import the designers from other mass-transit systems that actually manage to move mass numbers people on time, including in the above conditions? (Apparently with some new power substations which will surely be protested ad infinitum by the NIMBYs and never actually be built?)

Posted by: BOHICA! | July 21, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

If Mayor Fenty was running Metro, some people would have been fired by now. I don't like to see people lose their jobs, but I think that's the only thing that will cause things to improve. The excuses get really tiresome after awhile.

Another thing tonight - I got so tired of the announcement of a "momentary delay" then the train moved 50 yards or so another "momentary delay" ad nauseum.

Posted by: FredCorgi1 | July 21, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

There was also some problem at Rosslyn around 5:30 pm -- no information about what it was, we were just told to off-load at Foggy Bottom, which was already packed. I had to spend $15 on a cab to get to my appointment, and when I got out a little after 7 pm and opted for the 38B bus, not knowing if the Orange Line was still having problems, the first bus that went by was completely full and not letting anyone on. What a horrible commute home.

Oh, and this after an unexplained train delay this morning that doubled my commute time. Heckuva job, Metro!

Posted by: Ballston | July 21, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Dunn Loring,

The dispatchers at central control can change a train's destination at a moment's notice to meet the needs of service. That is why the operator did not know if he would end at Vienna or West Falls Church when you asked. While it might seem inconvenient to not know at that time, not knowing does allow the railroad to be run in the most efficient manner.

Posted by: OTP | July 22, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

FredCorgi1, you moved 50 yards? You're lucky. Usually they lurch ahead 2-3 feet at at time.

Posted by: gdmetro | July 22, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

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