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Metro increases speeds on Red Line

10 a.m. Update: Metro released a statement that says trains traveling in the direction of Glenmont are operating at normal speeds, up to 59 mph. Shady Grove-bound trains between Friendships and Bethesda are traveling at 35 to 40 mph. Metro said they expect to resume normal speeds along that segment of track by next week.

Original post: Metroopensdoors tweeted this morning that the speed restriction on the Glenmont-bound track has been lifted. Speeds on the track to Shady Grove increased to 35 to 40 mph, and will remain at those levels through the weekend, according to the transit agency's official Twitter page.

Metro crews discovered a strip of worn rails between Bethesda and Friendship Heights during a routine assessment last week, triggering an immediate effort to replace rails and fasteners each night. The speed restriction allowed the replaced equipment to gradually adjust to passing trains.

A Metro official said the agency expects to release an official statement on the change this morning.

What are you experiencing on the Red Line? Post a comment below or e-mail us at

By Michael Bolden  |  March 24, 2010; 9:27 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting  | Tags: Metro delays, metro  
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Next: Headaches on the horizon


After days of simply slowing to a crawl without discussion, the Red Line operator this morning stated that we were in a speed-restricted area between Takoma and Fort Totten, in the Shady Grove direction. No further explanation offered. Can't find info about it on the WMATA web site either.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | March 24, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

The red line between Bethesda and Friendship Heights has been ridiculous since at least Tuesday of last week (3/16). Trains have been crawling through there, taking up to 10 minutes for what metro claims is a 3-minute ride. As usual, there was never any explanation offerred. (I assumed it was a new form of those "schedule adjustments" of which metro is so fond.) Riders have to deal not only with the delay, but with the ripple effect of the delay. I've missed my bus in the evening almost every day - one day I caught it, but only because the ride-on bus itself was running late.

When metro talks about raising rates and reducing service to cover budget shortfalls (funny how the phrase "pay freeze" is never mentioned, let alone "pay cut"), it might be tolerable if we had a state-of-the-art, dependable, smoothly functioning, reasonably priced system from which fat could rationally be cut. However, when we have a high-priced system that most developing nations would be ashamed of, metro's attitude is an insult to all passengers.

Posted by: MyPostID27 | March 24, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

What was going on on the Blue and Orange lines last night? The announcements didn't explain anything.

Posted by: corrections | March 24, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@ Lindemann777

They must be doing work at the switch just south of Takoma. Shady Grove bound trains slow to 15mph through the switch, while the Glenmont trains I've been on have been normal speed. It has been like this for over a week .

Posted by: Mainland | March 24, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

It's about time! WMATA initially claimed that the FH-Bethesda speed restriction would only add 2 minutes to our commute. To quote Congressman Joe Wilson, "YOU LIE!!!" Not once has my commute time been delayed by only two minutes. It's more like 10-15 minutes, with the 90-second Central Control-directed "holds" at stations along the way.

Posted by: drwong | March 24, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"the Red Line operator this morning stated that we were in a speed-restricted area between Takoma and Fort Totten, in the Shady Grove direction. No further explanation offered. Can't find info about it on the WMATA web site either."

FINALLY, I've written in to the chats and on here to Dr. Gridlock, all of which were ignored about this delay between Takoma and F. Totten, which has been going on for weeks. Why is it so difficult for metro to simply explain to riders what is going on. While crawling along why can't the driver just explain it in 10 seconds? Why can't the Post follow up on leads?

BTW, if metro says that this has ended they're lying, was crawling along this morning as well.

Posted by: JG55 | March 25, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Also, unlike Lindemann, I've yet to be graced with an explanation by metro yet. this is the first I've heard that a driver has even explained what is going on. Why can't anyone be held accountable for the lack of communication? Hire ANY communication aide/press secretary on the hill instead of the bozos who currently work at metro.

Posted by: JG55 | March 25, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I am becoming convinced that the drivers know a lot. I think upper management in WMATA strictly limits what the train drivers are allowed to tell their riders.

Posted by: KS100H | March 25, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I have also heard announcements about the speed restrictions between Takoma and Fort Totten. We reduce to a crawl at that point. To the point where I'm pretty sure a five-year-old could outrun the train. I'm at the point where I'm going to have to leave another 15 minutes earlier just to get to work on time (I had to tack on 15 minutes last summer).

Posted by: runnergirl03 | March 25, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Is there a reason the Washington Post in unable to report on this in the paper? Perhaps as a piece highlighting the fact that metro is utterly incapable of communicating simple situations.

Posted by: JG55 | March 25, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

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