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Two Dead, Many Injured in Red Line Collision

A collision between two Metro trains on the Red Line betweenTakoma and Fort Totten has left two people dead and many seriously injured, according to preliminary reports.

Here's a link to a Twitter picture, a screen shot from Channel 9. It shows one train car resting on top of another. Rescue workers are struggling to get injured passengers off the trains and out on stretchers.

D.C. Fire/EMS spokesman Alan Etter said: "We have a number of injuries ... And we have dozens of injuries. The fire department is still in the process of extricating people from the cars. We're using heavy rescue equipment to cut open the cars to get whoever's trapped in there out."

Many details about the accident are unclear. First reports said there one train derailed before the other train collided with it, but that may not have been the case. New reports from passengers suggest it was a head-on collision between the two trains. There are many safety systems designed to prevent such a collision.

"There will obviously be a very thorough investigation into what caused this derailment," said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. She said passengers were being taken to hospitals."Our hearts are with the families of those who have passed," she said.

Avoid the Red Line. It is Metro's busiest, and this will cause a large and long backup at the height of rush hour.Trains are operating between Glenmont and Silver Spring and between Shady Grove and Rhode Island Avenue. Metro says that shuttle bus service has been requested to bridge the gap between Silver Spring and Rhode Island Avenue, but any bus bridge is quickly overwhelmed by the passengers from just a couple of trains.

Riders already in the system can get out without being charged a fare if they exit the same way they came in, Metro is telling passengers.

Metrobuses up 16th Street and up Georgia Avenue can get people to Silver Spring.

MARC is arranging a bus bridge beginning at Rockville. Commuters in Washington and Silver Spring are advised to take Metro to Shady Grove. Commuters south of Germantown are advised to make alternative travel with local area buses.

The Green Line is operating to Geenbelt, but is extra crowded.

Casey Anderson, a Red Line rider bound for Silver Spring, said his train had been stopped near New York Avenue. Passengers were receiving little information. The train went up to Rhode Island Avenue Station, where passengers got off. "So far, they're just off loading the trains," Anderson said.

He's getting on an inbound train back to Union Station, where he's going to try to find a cab, or perhaps get his bike, for the trip home.

Location of today's crash.

By Robert Thomson  |  June 22, 2009; 6:43 PM ET
 | Tags: Metro accident, delays, train accident  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Major Road Closures Surrounding Shady Grove Station
Next: Many Disruptions Following Red Line Collision


Is it a derailment or a collision? CNN says a collision with people trapped and seriously injured.

Posted by: uh_huhh | June 22, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

From the WJLA website:

WASHINGTON - Metro confirms two trains have collided on the Red Line between the Takoma and Fort Totten stations. It happened close to the Fort Totten station, a Metro spokesperson said.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter said one train was on top of the other train.

This is "developing into a mass casualty event," Etter said. "We're expecting a number of injuries. We're not aware of any fatalities at this point."

Train traffic has been stopped in the area. Shuttle bus service has been requested, Metro said.

ABC 7 has multiple crews en route to the scene.

Posted by: nlaslett | June 22, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

omg, I hope that CNN report is wrong. I can't figure out which Metro station it is. Channel 4 is saying no injuries.

Posted by: april3 | June 22, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

CNN reported that there was a collision and one train was on top of the other.

Posted by: zen99 | June 22, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Fox 5 is reporting a head-on collision due to single tracking in that area. Accident is red line nearly directly under the Michigan Avenue street bridge. Mass casualty alarm rang out with DCFD.

Posted by: idiparker | June 22, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Someone on the SCAN-DC mailing list (fire/police monitors) are reporting "many injuries reported"

Posted by: idiparker | June 22, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Driver ERROR no doubt....Good ol'Metro,
NO WONDER they want to raise fares.

GO SKINS beat dallas!
Matt d.

Posted by: mdeleon | June 22, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Alan Etter just confirmed at least one death...

Posted by: DCSean1 | June 22, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Why are they single tracking anywhere during rush hour?

Posted by: uh_huhh | June 22, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

From SCAN-DC--> Medstar chopper called in for at least one person. Montgomery County fire re-dispatching to back fill DC fire stations.

Posted by: idiparker | June 22, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, how horrible! How could this have happened?

Posted by: AutumnBanter | June 22, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

How is the Washington Post being scooped about a potentially serious metro rail collision? This happened about 45 minutes ago, and it's still in little print at the bottom of the Post web page. Come on guys. Surely you haven't all taken the buy out?

Posted by: kermit1001 | June 22, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

CNN is reporting it's both Red and Green, but it can't be the Green Line. CNN's facts aren't correct.

Posted by: WxDude | June 22, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Channel 9 reporting 9 people trapped and 1 fatality.

Posted by: idiparker | June 22, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Really sad and yet another avoidable accident during rush hour no less!

Posted by: jackme11 | June 22, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

It is hard to figure out what train is running where in Gridlock's article. Seems to indicate trains are running through the wreck.

Posted by: bcs2k | June 22, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The trains are on the Red Line between Fort Totten and Takoma on the Shady Grove direction as per WMATA.

WMATA does not have any delays listed on the Green line. Depending upon how close to Fort Totten, there could be problems getting out of the area due to emergency vehicles.

Posted by: skramsv | June 22, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

3rd paragraph ("trains are operating between...") is not clear.

Posted by: bcs2k | June 22, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Any updates on how the redline is running? The WMATA page doesn't seem to be dealing with the increased traffic well and it won't load.

Posted by: ga3569a | June 22, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

CNN has confirmed a second fatality.

Posted by: idiparker | June 22, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Avoid the Red Line for now! Trains collided, fatalities and injuries reported. Info to follow...

Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | June 22, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

This after the 2-day signal malfunctioning on the Yellow/Blue line just last week. Scary.

Posted by: bdeco | June 22, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Channel 4 is showing one train on the track underneath another one. The first car under the top train looks smashed.

Fort Totten is a mess - confusion and poor communication with the stranded rail riders.

Posted by: meredithand | June 22, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

WMATA site says "avoid Red Line." And Post story seems to say a train derailed, then hit another train. CNN is showing fire dept prying metro car doors and windows open.

Posted by: LenoxRoad | June 22, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Some good news: WUSA reporting one train was out of service.

Posted by: cprferry | June 22, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: withoutaclue | June 22, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

WJLA just reported that 2 fatalities have been confirmed.

Posted by: cainoo7x | June 22, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

From Metro's e-Alert system:

(ID 55699) Disruption at Fort Totten. Trains are turning back at Rhode Island Ave and Silver Spring stations due to a train experiencing mechanical difficulties outside of Fort Totten station. Shuttle Bus service has been established. Customers should add an additional 30 minutes to their travel time.

Please, explain to me how "mechanical difficulties" and "two trains colliding" are the same thing.

Posted by: pikamander007 | June 22, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

According to my husband, stuck at Union Station, there's no information and people are packing into the station with little direction from Metro.

He called me to figure out what was going on.

According to other news sites (because Metro's sucks and isn't loading fast), it looks like they're still trying to get people out of those cars and Metro is saying to avoid the Red line, so I don't understand how trains are both running (as suggested above), and delayed.

Posted by: nagatuki | June 22, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

It is sooo annoying for the post to use a blog to report this information rather than a real article with real facts and perhaps a map showing the impacted area. SLOPPY WORK! There's more information in the comments than in this posting.

Posted by: allyvix | June 22, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

It's Bush's fault. Bush lied, commuters died!

Come on libs, you know you want to say it!

Posted by: cschotta1 | June 22, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I truly hope this isn't another case of train drivers texting which happened in LA. Cell phones should be taken away from all drivers prior to their time on the job!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: teresadanna | June 22, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

The photos on NBC are just unbelievable. The last two cars of the train in front are literally sitting on top of the back train. The first car of the back train looks to be completely demolished.

OMG. This is terrible. Catoe should be fired TONIGHT.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 22, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Come on, WashingtonDame. You can't call for Catoe to be fired without knowing what's going on.

Posted by: meredithand | June 22, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

For those saying that the news isn't fast enough, and comments are quicker: Welcome to 2009, the new millennium, and the power of social media.

It's helpful - any information we can get. Stop your whining.

And for those RePos thinking this is a good time to get in a dig at the Dems, shut up.

Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | June 22, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Washingtondame, isn't that jumping the gun just a little bit?

It is unlikely that this was straight operator error - that rarely (but can) causes derailments.

Posted by: aaronw1 | June 22, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

My boyfriend was on the train that was struck. He called to say that they had derailed and were stuck on the tracks. He then called me to tell me that they had been struck by another train. All have been evacuated and he said he saw many injured people and feared there were a few that died. I called Metro and they cannot tell me to what hospitals people are being taken.

Posted by: alexadomeck1 | June 22, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Another report of a head-on collision. This time by WUSA

Posted by: cprferry | June 22, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

TV news (I'm sorry I can't remember which station) said that Washington Hospital Center and Howard University Hospital had been told to expect injuries. Both hospitals were asked how many people they could take.

Posted by: meredithand | June 22, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse


Be grateful that Robert Thomson updates this blog, and does an excellent job with it. At least it's something and he's very good at getting information from traffic agencies in the area.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 22, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

FIRE CATOE. I've ridden the metro since its inception, and I've never seen such neglect and terrible service as we've had under John Catoe. The metro ridership has never been higher - and please, let's remember unlike most industries - they are paid in ADVANCE - yet, still, broken elevators, no fans in Pentago City, Farragut North -- and the horrible, surly employees. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH - GET BETTER METRO EMPLOYEES - AND FIRE CATOE NOW.

Posted by: Lulu-1 | June 22, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

You libs can't blame the city politicians, coz they are all democRATS! lol

Posted by: cschotta1 | June 22, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, metro riders - its time to stand up - these poor people have been killed and injured because - apparently - they were one tracking???

Posted by: Lulu-1 | June 22, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

My husband just called from a shuttle bus leaving Fort Totten turning north on Georgia Avenue. He said he saw a stream of ambulances going south on Georgia.

Posted by: meredithand | June 22, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse


If Metro makes a fortune, then why was there so much discussion earlier this year about services cuts? And what does Catoe have to do with anything? Perhaps, instead of running off at the mouth for no reason other than to draw attention to yourself, you could go actually learn something?

Posted by: pikamander007 | June 22, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Metro shuttle bus service.. talk about adding insult to injury.

Posted by: john65001 | June 22, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Bitter_Bill | June 22, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, instead of whining...mayb e we can help out? Anyone got a car who can go to Brookland or takoma park and offer a lift?

Where'd be a good area to stage this?

Posted by: charlesmurphy85 | June 22, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I doubt it's terrorism - more likely the side effects of a failing system.

Posted by: meredithand | June 22, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Yet another example that the people of DC are incapable of self government. They have wrecked the train that America bought for them. DC must be stripped of "home rule" and returned to supervision by the US Congress. America wants its capital back!

Posted by: jaybute | June 22, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Jim Graham on WRC stating he's preparing to meet with Catoe and then a statement will come soon after.

Posted by: meredithand | June 22, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I am always shocked by how incompetent and poorly run the metro seems. The drivers (whether real or not) always present a less than confidence inspiring commentary. Given the endless and frequent starts and stops of the metro, this was a matter of time.

On the other hand, it is possible anyplace--just a couple of yrs ago in japan there was a high speed derailment.

Fire the mayor.

Posted by: Canton55 | June 22, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

jaybute, Metro isn't run by the DC government, you racist moron, so home rule has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: uh_huhh | June 22, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Shut the &%$# up about DC government, or Cato for that matter. Metro has been drastically short of funds because it doesn't have a dedicated funding source but has to go begging to three different jurisdictions each year for its budget. How DARE you turn this into an opportunity to bash DC. I hope when you and your children get killed in a car wreck on the Beltway someone will say, well it was no more than they deserved after voting for GW Bush.

Posted by: csdiego | June 22, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

jaybute: You obviously are a moron, as Home Rule has nothing to do with this. Go back to your Deliverance cabin in the woods, we have things to do - and one of them is not to deal with your ignorance.

People are hurt and dying, probably in part due to your ineptitude and ignorance - so just shut up.

Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | June 22, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Here is a quick summary of what happened, including a photo, map, and related post for additional information.

Posted by: InformationDesk | June 22, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

MY GOD! People have died in this tragedy and there are people posting here with anti-liberal, racist rants! You should be ashamed of yourselves! We don't know yet why this occurred. We will find out. The NTSB will investigate. Until then, placing blame is the last thing we should be doing.
BTW, Metro is a regional authority spilt between DC, MD and VA and governed by a board of officers from all 3. It's not run by the DC gov't!

Posted by: cabterp | June 22, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

This is a complete tragedy,I pray that this will encourage the government to establish funding for the Metro-rail as they have been pleading for more financial support for years.

Posted by: ljmcghie | June 22, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Fenty says 4 confirmed fatalities.

Posted by: meredithand | June 22, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

If possible, could we please get the following questions answered (because Wolf Blitzer - who should know better - just keeps asking if it was a head-on collision - hard to tell because engineers can sit on either end of the drain, doofus):

1) Were both trains in service?
2) What was the origin of each train - were they both outward bound, both inward bound, or one in each direction?
3) How long do they think the rescue effort will take?
4) How long will the red line be closed down over this incident?

I'm tired of the reporters actually getting witnesses and asking stupid questions - Wolf Blitzer actually had a nurse who had been on the train, and he asked her "Was there screaming?" I'm amazed I didn't actually punch the TV.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 22, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

With modern communications, the only thing missing was alertness on the part of those responsible for getting people safely home. The state of the engineers and drivers should be investigated, that they were not under any influences that caused terrible things to happen to the people on the trains.


Posted by: lucile6231 | June 22, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

@Chasmosaur1 - Catoe says that both trains were going in the same direction. The first train was stopped on the tracks waiting for the platform to be cleared in the Fort Totten Station. For unknown reasons, the train behind the stopped-on-the-tracks train did not stop and appears to have run over it. I believe he said that the driver of the train that didn't stop is the one that lost his life.

Posted by: meredithand | June 22, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Chasmosaur1, great questions.

For what it's worth, Wolf wasn't as bad as Chris Mathews on MS-NBC, who called this the first-ever Metro collision (wrong) and claimed that the New Hampshire Avenue overpass was the Capital Beltway (um, about 8 lanes off on that one!)

Posted by: uh_huhh | June 22, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Officials are finding clues and victims in Mondays train crash in Washington DC. Amazing multimedia posted too.

Posted by: InformationDesk | June 23, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

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