Metro Trying to Adjust to Red Line Demand
While last Monday's crash occurred on the eastern side of the Red Line, the continuing delays affect the entire line, from Shady Grove to Glenmont. And that's likely to continue.
Many of us got a Metro eAlert this morning that said this: "To minimize delays, a number of trains will offload at Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland-CUA and Ft. Totten stations. Shuttle bus service is available."
I found that confusing, so I asked Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel to describe what was going on. (His group at Metro doesn't do the eAlerts.)
Red Line trains are under manual control and operate at 35 mph. They are extra slow between Takoma and Fort Totten, the zone where the crash occurred.
Normally, it should take 61 minutes to get between Shady Grove and Glenmont. Because of the slowdown, Taubenkibel said, it's taking that long to get from Shady Grove to Fort Totten. To try to meet demand throughout the line, he said, controllers are turning back some trains early. That means the stop at Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland or Fort Totten and tell everybody to get off and wait for the next through train. Then the train turns around and heads back in the direction it came from, trying to reduce crowding at those stations.
The shuttle buses are still running between Silver Spring and Rhode Island Avenue. In Silver Spring this morning, there was none of the crowding on them that I saw last week. Metro personnel told me that the shuttle was serving as a backup today, but that I'd be better off taking the train.
And that was true. The train ride from Silver Spring to Farragut North was uneventful, except for the slower speed, which would be obvious to any Red Line rider. All trains continue to pull to the very front of the platform. So at many stations, people who are unaware of that are watching the front car go by, then running to catch up. Metro should continue to remind riders about this change, especially with so many tourists on board this week.
Taubenkibel suggested that riders with computers or mobile devices check the Next Train feature on Metro's Web site, because the usual schedule of train arrivals is thrown off by the manual control of trains and the speed restrictions. This is the same technology used in the electronic message boards on the platforms to show arrival times. It gets thrown off when trains share the same track, but that's not the case this week.
June 29, 2009; 10:42 AM ET
Categories: Metro , transit | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrobus, Metrorail, Red Line crash, delays
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