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Crowding, Slowed Exits at L'Enfant Plaza

L'ENFANT PLAZA -- Crowds coming in on Virginia Railway Express and Metro trains are filling L'Enfant Plaza, choking one of the Metro system's key transfer points, and one of the main stations for entering the Mall.

The busiest station for incoming Virginia Railway Express riders appears to be L'Enfant Plaza rather than Union Station this morning, as many of the riders of the system's sold-out inauguration day service have been disembarking on the south side of the National Mall.

Around 8:40 a.m., the exits were completely jammed. A chant of "Fired up, ready to go!" could be heard. And lines for the elevator to leave the station appeared at least 75 people long.

And around 8:15 a.m., Metro officials were letting people out of the station slowly because of a medical emergency near station exit, resulting in a very crowded platform where some commuters were stuck for a half-hour or longer.

At Union Station around 7:30 a.m. today, riders packed onto the escalators to head to the day's events. Cheers and waves filled the air as station workers yelled welcomes while holding signs pointing to the exits. "I'm so excited, I'm so excited," a rider yelled from out of the crowd.

While there were long lines at for coffee and restrooms at Union Station early this morning, things seemed under control.

Early this morning at the Manassas VRE station, riders packed the small indoor station to stay warm as they waited for a train at 6:15 a.m.

"I feel like I'm wearing so many socks that I've cut off circulation to my toes," said New Jersey history teacher Julia Guttilla, 28, roll of toilet paper in hand.

(This post has been updated.)

-- Jennifer Buske, Christopher Davenport, Jean Mack, Del Quentin Wilber and Josh White


By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Next: 9:10 A.M. at Arlington Cemetery Station

Comments

The I95 backup at Springfield is now gone. It had reached from Springfield to Lorton but is wide-open now.

Posted by: redhatnation | January 20, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

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