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Speed restrictions on Red Line

If travel on the western end of the Red Line seems to be dragging, it is not your imagination. Speed restrictions are in place on Metro's Red Line between Friendship Heights and Bethesda stations, the transit agency said in a release Monday, due to overnight track work to replace rails and rail fasteners.

A 15-mph restriction is also in place on the Glenmont-bound track between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Medical Center stations. Metro performed extensive work in the stretch during the weekend, including installing 3,200 feet of new track. The transit agency hopes to resume normal service on that stretch by Tuesday morning.

Metro said the 15-mph restrictions between Friendship Heights and Bethesda were implemented last week after an evaluation determined there was a need to perform immediate replacements on both tracks. Officials said crews will work on the stretch during the overnight hours this week and hope to resume normal speeds by the middle of the week.

Have you noticed the slowdowns, or have they impacted your commute? Comment below or e-mail us at

By Michael Bolden  |  March 22, 2010; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Metro  | Tags: Metro, Red Line  
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I guess I do not understand why it took so long to note this slow down. I noticed the slow down last week as it can now take around 10 minutes to get from Bethesda to Friendship, however, when I checked metro's website I could not find anything about it. And even now, I would think that Metro would note where it lists delays on the different lines.

Posted by: brando3000 | March 22, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the left hand of the metro system knows what the right hand is doing. Yesterday, the public announcement stated single-tracking between Grosvenor and Medical Center, but the single tracking seemed to extend to Friendship Heights. It took one hour and fourty-five minutes to get from Shady Grove to Friendship Heights. I gave up on my trip to the Smithsonian and exited the metro at Frienship Heights. Metro is a pathetic and unreliable transportation system and is an embarrasement to our nation's capitol. I feel sorry to tourists who visit DC expecting a reliable and efficient transportation system, only to find themselves sitting endlessly in tunnels.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | March 22, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, somebody should tell WMATA about this slowdown so that they can post it on their website - ha ha ha.
It has added 15 minutes to some of my trips as the slow down trickles up and down the line.

Posted by: KS100H | March 22, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

A couple of people posted asking about this slow down FRIDAY MORNING...

(No, I was not one of them.)

Posted by: ceebee2 | March 22, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Too generous: the left hand of the metro system doesn't know what the left hand of the metro system is doing.

Posted by: corrections | March 22, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The slowdowns have been going on since early last week. The Grosvenor-Bethesda crawl adds 10-12 minutes to the trip. The really annoying part comes afterwards--we are "holding for an additional 2 minutes by Central Control" at at least three stations, which adds 6, 8 or 10 more minutes. My usually 40 minutes trip took an hour this morning, and this is not the first time, either.

Posted by: mmaid | March 22, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Trackwork south of Grosvenor is becoming the norm, and requires planning ahead & Patience.
And after last summer's long wait times, and crowds, I'm not looking forward to this summer on the Red line.

Posted by: Hattrik | March 22, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I have been wondering since last week what has been going on. I live at Bethesda and first noticed it on my way home from Dupont on Wednesday. We were told there was a "back-up" between Friendship Heights and Bethesda. This was odd since I knew the train ahead of us had a 3-4 minute lead. We crawled through the tunnel, stopping and starting again.

I was not at work Thursday but noticed this problem again on Friday, both in the morning and in the evening. Again, we were just told there was a "back-up" of 3 trains heading into Bethesda. What the heck???? Will someone please notify commuters of potential delays?

Posted by: nativetexan2 | March 22, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I was on a Glenmont bound train at 10:15 this morning that was moving very slowing as it approached Grosvenor station. It then crawled all the way to Medical Center. Our driver did annouce that speed restrictions were in effect due to personnel on the tracks and that we would return to normal speed once we have cleared the area. Thanks to that driver for keeping us informed, I just wish more drivers (and WMATA in general) could do the same on a consistent basis.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | March 22, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"Have you noticed the slowdowns, or have they impacted your commute? Comment below or e-mail us at"

Yes, I have noticed the slowdowns, both on the west side of the red line (Friendship Heights-Bethesda) and between Fort Totten and Takoma.

Yes, they have impacted my commute.

Does Metro have any plans to run trains more frequently on weekends once more tourists are here and more people are out and about? They are rush-hour-crowded right now.

Posted by: DOEJN | March 22, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I noticed it today on my commute to my class (last week was Spring Break). It would've been nice if the train operator, you know, made even one announcement about it. I figured the slow-down was for passing track workers, which usually happens at that time of day (around 10 AM). These are the times when people get fed up with Metro. If there's a legitimate reason to slow down, that's fine. Just have the train operators announce it.

Oh, and the slowdowns started at Grosvenor and lasted to Cleveland Park. Just wanted to mention that.

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Posted by: linjianying | March 22, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Metro is a pathetic and unreliable transportation system. I could not agree more. They take advantage of the riders because they can get away with it. Its most peoples only option into and out of town. I love how higher fares result in more problems for the riders. Its bad enough not being able to find a seat and paying almost $4 each way.The jerking and the delays as well as the broken trains daily is almost to much to swallow. I dont understand why everyday riders get off a grovesner to watch the next two following trains run by empty without picking anyone up. Or why riders get on a train to shady grove, yet in the middle of the ride they decide to change the destination to a shorter route. Seems like everything comes at the riders expense. Metro will never get it. Im willing to bet they cut as many corners as they can. This is why its just sloppy as hell out there. Have a great day people.

Posted by: Deeas12 | March 23, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's officially Tuesday and the speed restrictions are still in place. I'm so shocked that Metro underestimated the amount of time this would take [sarcasm]. The ride between Bethesda and Friendship Heights is agonizingly slow - 10 minutes on a good day, 15 minutes on most days, due to frequently stops in the tunnel. It's now at the point where I plan to get out at Friendship Heights and walk the two miles home, if only to keep myself moving!

Posted by: hattorihanzo44 | March 23, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"Dysfunctional" is a too charitable term to describe Metrorail. At 7:30 Tuesday night (which is still rush-hour for DC commuters), I had a 12-minute wait for the next Shady Grove-bound train. After passing through the Friendship Heights-Bethesda slog, we came to a crawl once we left Rockville because of a "crowded" Shady Grove platform. How crowded can that platform be, when the last train was 12 minutes ahead of us?!? And if the platform is that crowded, why don't they build a second staircase/elevator bank?!? One staircase and one elevator in each direction is wholly inadequate for a terminal station!

Posted by: drwong | March 24, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

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