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Smoke shut down one side of the Green Line for 40 minutes (Update)

UPDATE (11:31 p.m.): A Metro transit worker at the scene of the smoke incident tells The Post's Emma Brown that trash falling through the grate and onto the fluorescent lights likely caused the smoke that closed half the Green Line between 10:20 and 11 p.m.

UPDATE (11:17): Metro spokesperson Angela Gates said there was smoke emitting from a light fixture on the track at Gallery Place-Chinatown on the side where trains travel toward Greenbelt. The incident happened at 10:20 p.m.

Metro officials at the scene turned off the power on that track. When they decided it was safe to operate trains through there, they resumed service at 11 p.m.

During that period, they ran trains on the Green Line on the opposite track. Trains are now running in both directions. This is causing some lingering delays.

"That was the only real hiccup we've had tonight," Gates said by phone.

She said the busiest stations have been Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Metro Center, L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place. As of 10 pm, 499,549 people had entered the system today. The system remains open until 3 a.m.

UPDATE (11:05): Metro has sent an alert saying that the situation has been "resolved," but delays in both directions on the Green Line will persist.

UPDATE (10:59): Officials blocking the platform have moved. An announcement was made that trains will begin running both directions on the Green Line momentarily.

A Metro official at the scene said that the cause of the smoke was a set of fluorescent lights overheating. About twenty feet of fluorescent lights under the grate are now dark. They will probably be replaced tomorrow.

UPDATE (10:57): District fire units have responded to reports of smoke on the Green Line, which passengers can smell faintly. Police are blocking anyone from traveling down the escalator to the Green and Yellow line platforms, but the station remains occupied. Three Metro employees with flashlights are currently inspecting the fluorescent lights underneath the grates next to the tracks. Officials at the tracks are saying that the platform should be open again in a few minutes, Emma Brown reports from the scene. Passengers are still disembarking from the track that's open.

ORIGINAL POST (10:45): There is smoke in the station at Gallery Place-Chinatown on the Green Line. As a result, trains are single tracking between L'Enfant Plaza and Mt. Vernon Square (that also includes Archives-Navy Memorial).

Riders going either toward Greenbelt or Branch Ave. should expect delays, Metro says.

By James Hohmann  |  July 4, 2009; 10:45 PM ET
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I was in Gallery Place shortly before it closed and I smelled this. It was a faint smell of burning paper, but no visible smoke, and I just assumed that some kids were igniting firecrackers outside and the smell was being drawn into the station.

I left the Mall immediately after the fireworks, and Gallery Place was a breeze -- no line to enter the station or board a train. Most of the passengers seemed to be boarding at Smithsonian, Archives, and other stations closer to the Mall.

Posted by: stuckman | July 4, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

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