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Red Line returning to normal

Fire crews respond to the incident at Metro Center. (By J. Freedom du Lac/The Washington Post)

11:50 A.M. UPDATE: "We are back to normal now with residual delays," said Metro spokeswoman Taryn McNeil.

11:45 A.M. UPDATE: Metro says the situation has been resolved but delays continue. It will take a while for life on the Red Line to return to normal.

11:40 A.M. UPDATE: Elizabeth Chang reports that her train finally arrive at Dupont Circle, where she decided to walk rather than wait for it to start moving again.

Metro is still reporting delays due to single-tracking.

11:35 A.M. UPDATE: The Post's Elizabeth Chang has been stuck on a Red Line train headed toward Farragut North from Montgomery County for more than an hour. She reports that there are lots of tourists aboard the train with children who don't quite know what to make of the situation.

11:30 A.M. UPDATE: Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said an electrical short in the rail caused the fire. Officials hope to resume normal service on the Red Line by noon.

11:15 A.M. UPDATE: Metro is still investigating the situation at Gallery Place Metro Center. Red Line delays continue across the system.

10:45 A.M. UPDATE: Metro is still reporting Red Line delays.

10:30 A.M. UPDATE: D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer says a track insulator caught fire Friday morning and sent smoke through the tunnel.

Piringer says crews briefly evacuated the station as they worked to control the smoke.

No one was injured.

Metro says Red Line trains are sharing the same track between the Farragut North and Gallery Place stops.

-- Associated Press

10:05 A.M. UPDATE: D.C. emergency officials said the situation is under control. There is light smoke in the tunnel and it is being ventilated. The incident occurred on the upper level where Red Line passengers board.

10 A. M. UPDATE: D.C. emergency officials said the problem occurred on the outbound track headed for Shady Grove. Pedestrians are being evacuated from the station, they said. Unsuck DC Metro just tweeted a link to a photo that shows a Metro employee using a fire extinguisher on the tracks below a platform in the station.

Original post: D.C. Fire/EMS officials are reporting that trains on the Red Line are stopped due to an insulator fire along the track near Metro Center. There is smoke in the area and officials are investigating. Expect delays.

By Michael Bolden  |  April 9, 2010; 9:54 AM ET
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I take the red line between Van Ness and Metro Center, and it was a terrible commute.

The gap between cars seems longer in the morning than usual over the past few weeks, and it hasn't been the same since the accident last june.

It seems like its literally falling apart.

Also, why does the metro operator say "we'll be moving again shortly" if he doesn't know if its true or not. Idiot.

Posted by: kenk3 | April 9, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I noticed the gap in service on the Metro Center Red Line as well.

They say "we'll be moving again shortly" to make us feel better. Would you rather they said, "we could be stuck here indefinitely"?

Posted by: steampunk | April 9, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm on an inbound train that's been holding at Judiciary Square for 30+ minutes now with no sign of moving. 4 outbound trains have passed us going the other way.

Our operator is being very careful not to use the word "fire," but somehow I wish he would. This is making me over an hour late, at least hearing the truth from Metro while I'm on the train would soften the blow a little.

Posted by: barkingmoose | April 9, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I agree with barkingmoose. The train operators should be kept informed and pass the information on to the passengers. "There seems to be a short in the electrical wiring, it's under control, but while things are being sorted out we do have delays, and we do apologize. Please bear with us." Simple. Wins more sympathy than "We'll be moving shortly" being repeated for an hour.

Posted by: Witjuti | April 9, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Get There gang --I don't understand the 11:15am update. Did you mean investigating the situation at *Metro Center*, or is there problem at Gallery Place that's different from the earlier Metro Center problem?

Posted by: InVA1 | April 9, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I would rather hear the truth than a story to make me feel better. Knowing you'll be stuck a while versus one minute allows you to call your boss to let them know you'll be late, plan an alternate route, etc.

Posted by: DOEJN | April 9, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Our mistake, InVA1. Sorry about that.

Michael Bolden
Development &
Transportation Editor

Posted by: boldenm | April 9, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I got on the red line at Wheaton sometime around 9:30 and had about 30 minutes of total delay time, with the train holding at several stations en route due to the fire at Metro Center. They were single tracking between Farragut North and Gallery Place to avoid Metro Center, and I'm guessing that I hit that queue before it had become too terrible.

And personally, if the situation involves "fire", I'd just as well rather be told "we'll move again as soon as we're sure we're not driving you into the bleeping fire". Of course, it would be even more reassuring to hear that there weren't fires in overcrowded underground stations serviced by often unreliable equipment, but that's neither here nor there.

Posted by: adbiosec | April 9, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I can remember a time when Metro was a source of local pride, and the tourists were all awed by its cleaniness and efficiency. Now, I'm embarrassed when I hear complaints from my visiting friends and relatives about how horrendous Metro is to use and how they had to resort to taxis to get where they wanted to go.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | April 9, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

If they would give any actually useful information, people might realize that they could get out and walk to their destinations faster.

Posted by: jiji1 | April 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, it is becoming faster to walk when Metro is operating under "normal conditions".

Posted by: ceebee2 | April 9, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

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