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Man Struck, Killed by Train at McPherson Station

Update, 5:59 p.m.: Patrick Cooper, an employee of USA Today, provides this firsthand account of the incident.

Update, 4:55 p.m.: The man struck and killed by a Metro train at the McPherson Square station this afternoon intentionally placed himself on the tracks, Metro officials say.

Update, 4:17 p.m.: Regular service has resumed on the Blue and Orange lines after a fatality on the tracks caused afternoon delays.

Update, 2:40 p.m.: There is no Blue or Orange Line service between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle, Metro officials say.

Original post, 1:51 p.m.: Blue and Orange line riders are facing delays this afternoon after a man was struck and killed by a train at the McPherson Square station around 1:15 p.m. The Blue Line train was headed to the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station at the time of the incident.

There is no train service to the McPherson Square station while emergency crews respond. Metro is setting up free shuttle bus service from the Foggy Bottom Metrorail station to the Federal Triangle Metrorail station. The buses will stop at Foggy Bottom, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Metro Center and Federal Triangle.

Passengers can expect delays throughout the afternoon as Metro continues to investigate.

-- Lena Sun

Metro Resources:  Riding the System  |  Trip Planner   |   Map  |  Post Coverage

By Mike McPhate  |  March 13, 2009; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
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Comments

This is why we need cops on the platforms.

Just think if there was a cop. He could have jumped onto the tracks, pushed the person under the platform and been a hero! (and saved the guys life, as well as everyone's Friday afternoon on the metro)

Posted by: blafhhhh | March 13, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I think this post should be written in more of a tone of concern for the person who was struck. Not in a tone of commuters being delayed.

How is the person doing? How bad were the injuries? What happened? Geez. Have some compassion.

Posted by: ellocin1 | March 13, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

This is a commuter blog. I'm sure the Post will have a full story about this later this evening or tomorrow. At this point, it's likely that no one knows how the person is doing, the extent of the injuries, or what exactly took place. The people who do, WMATA employees mostly, are probably a bit busy at the moment.

Posted by: JohnOfCharleston | March 13, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

NBC4 is reporting the person was struck and killed.

From a friend who was at the station, the person jumped onto the tracks and appeared to have dropped something.

Such a shame, no matter how it happened, never want to see something like this occur.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | March 13, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I always wonder when things like this happen, why do they have to close so many stations down? It happened at McPherson Square, why close down Farragut West, and Metro Center (on the blue/orange)? Just run a shuttle from one side to the other - Farragut west to Metro Center. Anyone out there who knows the answer?

I'm always sorry to hear these stories. Nothing is so bad in life that you need to kill yourself.

Posted by: Ellvee | March 13, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I think JohnOfCharleston has it right -- this is a commuter blog, not the human interest channel. It's terrible, but it isn't our place to know the details before, say, family members are notified or law enforcement finish taking care of the scene.

Meantime, bravo to WMATA and the Post for getting the delay information out in a timely manner on a Friday afternoon!

Posted by: BuffaloGal78 | March 13, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Look to the Singapore subway system for ways to improve the Washington Metro. With Singapore’s enclosed underground air-conditioned stations served by synchronized doors opening upon each train's arrival, this could not have occurred. We should learn from others and improve ourselves.

Posted by: myhonestopinion | March 13, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Ellvee Wrote: why do they have to close so many stations down? It happened at McPherson Square, why close down Farragut West, and Metro Center (on the blue/orange)? Just run a shuttle from one side to the other - Farragut west to Metro Center. Anyone out there who knows the answer?

In order the service the rest of the Blue and Orange Lines, Metro needs somewhere to turn the trains around. Downtown, there is a track switch on the Blue and Orange Lines between the Federal Triangle and Smithsonian Stations and another one at Foggy Bottom. These track switches allow Metro to reverse the direction of the trains, thus maintaining service on the Lines in Virginia and SE and Prince George's County. As a consequence, the stations in between the track switches (Farragut West, Metro Center, and Federal Triangle, in addition to McPherson Square) cannot receive service.

Posted by: eyendis | March 13, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

If there are witnesses willing to testify that he jumped, even if it was after a dropped item, then scrape up the carcass and get the trains running. I know I sound callous, but really, if someone is stupid enough to jump on the tracks after a dropped item, then I view it as Darwin in action when that person gets hit. Same thing happened in New York on the Flushing Line a year or two ago when some doofus jumped after a dropped cell phone.

I assume the reason they can't run to Metro Center and Farragut West is the positioning of the interlockings. The one for Farragut West is to the east of the stop and the trains would have to enter McPherson Square when reversing. The one at Metro Center is to the south of the station. Too bad they can't use these, though, as the walk from Farragut West (at 17th & I Streets) to Metro Center (at 13th & G) isn't a very long walk at all and would be a lot faster than a bus.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 13, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I just looked at a track schematic and in fact the interlocking is south of Federal Triangle, not Metro Center. Trying to terminate trains where there are no interlockings is utterly infeasible because it creates even worse of a bottleneck while other trains have to sit and wait for the terminated trains to clear the area.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 13, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

It might be a commuter blog but a few extra words 'struck and killed' or 'struck and taken to hospital' would have a much better tone.

Posted by: jackrussellterrier | March 13, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Stand behind the big yellow line people...

Posted by: DOC9 | March 13, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Darwin in action? You really think that and care enough to type it and send it?

Were you there...?

Posted by: jaho | March 13, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

ellocin1 you aren't very bright- the person unfortunately was killed the article says

Posted by: peterdc | March 13, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

As of 3:57 the Metro page says the status on both lines is "delayed." Does that mean they are running?

Posted by: Cossackathon | March 13, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

We know they can clear an incident like this quickly because of the incident on Inauguration Day. I understand that in that case, the person was fortunately not killed, but even had the outcome been more tragic, I still suspect they would have gotten service running much more quickly.

Posted by: DCLiz | March 13, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Darwin in action? You really think that and care enough to type it and send it?

"Were you there...?"

See post above from m1ke3i6 at 15.00 today: "From a friend who was at the station, the person jumped onto the tracks and appeared to have dropped something."

Seems to me that unless it's your child falling off the platform, I can't imagine anything valuable enough to jump after, especially at non-rush hour. At non-rush hour, wait until a train leaves the platform and then jump down immediately after it pulls out, so as to maximize the time you have to grab the item and either hide under the side of the platform or run down to one end where the stairs are.

If, instead, it was someone intent on suicide, then I have even less sympathy. Kill yourself in a way that doesn't indoor sporting event up the commute for several thousand people.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 13, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

This is another reason to avoid Metro. Sad that this person was killed. It doesn't help the situation that tens of thousands of others have to be inconvenienced by this incident. Its just as bad when someone gets sick on the train and no one has enough sense to pull the person off the train so that life can go on for the rest of us.

Posted by: PepperDr | March 13, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Damn.

Posted by: metroman1 | March 13, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

DCLiz, it really depends. If the person (or body) is stuck under a train it can take awhile to get them out. It also become a crime scene so an investigation has to occur. These things take time.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | March 13, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

i really have to say that person is really stupid for jumping on the train tracks... was that certain item worth your life? obvious now we dont know! what a shame! it sounds mean i know... but he/ she is in a better place in the hands of god... i wish his/ her family the best with their loss

Posted by: raptors48 | March 13, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't the train have stopped if the operator saw someone on the tracks? Are train operators like robots who can't do anything, they just sit there?

Posted by: eugene8 | March 13, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts are with the family. In terms of the service, the Metro is cleaner and functions much better than the "dirty" NYC subway system. Compared to NYC the Metro is a 10 plus. Keep up the clean, on-time work.

NYC resident

Posted by: dkh2110 | March 13, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Couldn't the train have stopped if the operator saw someone on the tracks? Are train operators like robots who can't do anything, they just sit there?"

Trains can't stop on a dime. Think about how a truck takes a lot more space to stop than a car due to the much bigger size, heavier weight, etc. Same thing applies to a train, and the more cars the train has, the longer the stopping distance required.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 13, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

How about providing updates on the Dr. Gridlock Twitter feed?

Posted by: subwayguy | March 13, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"Trains can't stop on a dime. Think about how a truck takes a lot more space to stop than a car due to the much bigger size, heavier weight, etc. Same thing applies to a train, and the more cars the train has, the longer the stopping distance required."

And because trains run with metal wheels on metal tracks, the frictional forces are much less than if it were a rubber tire on an asphalt road, because the "mu of friction" is significantly less. Thus, while there is less resistance when the train is in motion, it takes a lot longer to stop. There is a maximum amount of braking force that cannot be exceeded, or else the wheels slide and go "flat".

Posted by: thetan | March 13, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

This thread just confirms my thesis that the majority of people living in this area are sociopaths and busybodies. No matter the circumstances, this was a tragedy for Christsake! Why would you blog about someone's death? Please keep your distorted thoughts to yourselves. And to the moderator of this blog: I find most of these comments offensive. They offend my intelligence and my sense of morality.

Posted by: miken4 | March 13, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

How is it a tragedy if someone intentionally jumped in front of a train, as we hear in the latest update, thus intentionally indoor sporting eventing up the commute for all those thousands of people (which, even had he not intended to screw up the commute, was the obvious consequence)? Who cares about your so-called "sense of morality"? How about the sense of morality that should have stopped the sociopath from jumping in front of a subway train in mid-afternoon on a Friday?

(I certainly can't agree that "this was a tragedy for Christsake," given that almost all major religions agree that suicide is an extremely serious sin! I doubt that Christ would appreciate this man's action even if done in Christ's name!)

I'm sorry if the man was depressed, but there are better ways to kill yourself.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 13, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Do you think someone who "intentionally places themselves on the tracks" for whatever reason has the capacity at that point in time to consider the impact they are going to have on someone's commute? I guess if you have no sense of morality, you don't have to care about anyone else's as evidenced by your clever description of this as "indoor sporting eventing up" the commute (albeit an awkward conversion of a noun into a verb). My real point is, if you have nothing better to do than blog about a traffic/commuting incident, you ought to get a life. It was a complete accident that I read this blog. I didn't even know you COULD blog a traffic incident! I certainly won't be reading it again.

Posted by: miken4 | March 13, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Miken-1995hoo's comments represent and cleaerly demonstrate WHY THE DC AREA IS SO EFFED UP, IT IS SINGULAR IN THAT REGARD-IT IS ALL SO GOD D##MED SELF IMPORTANT, IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT ME MYSELF AND I, AND IF YOU IN ANY WAY INTERFERE WITH ME MYSELF AND I, WHY, I'M GOING TO STEP RIGHT OVER YOUR DEAD BODY IN AN ANNOYED SORT OF WAY FOR HAVING THE TEMERITY, THE ACTUAL TEMERITY TO CAUSE AN OBSTACLE FOR ME TO NOT BE ON MY BUSY BUSY SUPER BUSY WAY!

JESUS CHRIST! I FEEL SORRY FOR PEOPLE LIKE 1995HOO AND ALL THE PEOPLE WHO RESPOND IN THIS TOTALLY SELF-ABSORBED WAY!-THEY ARE ONLY PARTLY HUMAN-AND THE SAD THING IS, UNTIL SOME TRAGEDY HAPPENS TO THEM PERSONALLY, THEY MAY NEVER HAVE AN INKLING OF WHAT'S LIKE TO BE HUMAN, AND TO PUT THEMSELVES IN SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES-EVEN FOR A MOMENT!

Posted by: arrabbiato | March 13, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

"This is why we need cops on the platforms. -Posted by: blafhhhh"

That would mean how many cops walking back and forth on the platforms, waiting for such a rare event?

There seem to be 86 metro stations, some with multiple platforms. You need at least two shifts - that would make nearly 200 cops designated for this purpose. Even then it will serve to reduce, not eliminate, the possiblility of someone jumping onto the tracks of an incoming train.

One can neither foresee, nor prevent all possible events.

Posted by: pKrishna43 | March 13, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"...your clever description of this as "indoor sporting eventing up" the commute (albeit an awkward conversion of a noun into a verb)...."

The moderators ask that we not use profanity. "Indoor sporting eventing" is a term certain Internet software uses to censor a word that refers to bedroom recrea....errr, procrea....err, an activity that can serve either of those purposes.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 14, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"Indoor sporting eventing" is a term certain Internet software uses to censor a word that refers to bedroom recrea....errr, procrea....err, an activity that can serve either of those purposes.

NERD

Posted by: Axel2 | March 15, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"Steven Taubenkibel said Kurtland Johnson, 42, intentionally placed himself on the tracks at the Farragut West Station at 5:25 a.m. but climbed back onto the platform a minute later. He jumped onto the tracks at McPherson Square about 1:16 p.m. and was struck by a Blue Line train.

Rail personnel dispatched Metro transit police in the earlier incident, but Johnson was gone by the time police arrived at 5:28 a.m., he said.

Security camera footage shows Johnson entering the station, then sitting on the platform dangling his feet over the edge before climbing down into the track bed, according to a source who did not want to be identified because the investigation is continuing. Johnson hugged the electrified third rail, then climbed back up to the platform. "

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | March 17, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"Steven Taubenkibel said Kurtland Johnson, 42, intentionally placed himself on the tracks at the Farragut West Station at 5:25 a.m. but climbed back onto the platform a minute later. He jumped onto the tracks at McPherson Square about 1:16 p.m. and was struck by a Blue Line train.

Rail personnel dispatched Metro transit police in the earlier incident, but Johnson was gone by the time police arrived at 5:28 a.m., he said. "

This is incompetence in action, why not get a person to watch him, while going to call the police. Also seriously, how do you lose track of someone in three minutes?

Posted by: eplummer | March 18, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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