Bodily Fluids, High Water, Dead Animals: Why Your Train Was Late
Most of the time, when there's a delay on a Metro train, the muffled voice on the PA system comes on to explain that there's a train stopped ahead and we have to wait.
But a good number of delays go unexplained--until now. The Post's wizard of databases, Derek Willis, has set up a dandy tool that lets reporters check out every single delay on Metro trains and scan them by date, station and category. So what do we learn? Metro trains have suffered 3,269 delays since last July, and while the single largest cause of delays is Mechanical Problems, which account for nearly half the database at 1483 reports, there are some really strange reasons why your train is late.
"An inbound Green Line train was not dispatched from Greenbelt because bodily fluids were discovered in one car." Just for example.
Delays occur because a train hit a deer (one report), because someone reported unusual odors (four reports) or because of weird noises (six reports.)
I knew that street traffic is halted for presidential motorcades, but I had no idea that Metro stopped its trains to let the president's limo go by. "Orange Line trains at West Falls Church were held by Metro Transit Police to allow the Presidential motorcade to pass on I-66," reads one report.
The second biggest category of incidents is Train Overran Platform, something that has happened 510 times since the database started last summer. Almost all of the reports are variations on this: "An outbound Green Line train at Suitland overran the platform but was able to pull back and service the station."
Amazingly, only one train in the past year was delayed because of an intoxicated customer, though 18 trains had to stop because there was an unauthorized person on the tracks.
The balky doors on the trains only accounted for six delays, including this unlikely culprit: "An inbound Yellow Line train at Gallery Place was delayed because a newspaper was blocking a door. Service resumed after the object was removed."
Sometimes, the cause of delay is downright bizarre, as in this case from the Fourth of July, when Metro shuts down its Smithsonian station so it doesn't get completely overrun by fireworks fans. Apparently, one train operator didn't get the memo: "An outbound Orange Line train at Smithsonian serviced the station, which was closed due to Fourth of July events. Customers were picked up by the following train."
And then there's this one from last April, about which I wish I could offer more details: "An inbound Blue Line train at Addison Road was delayed because the operator was locked out of the cab. Service resumed after Metro Transit Police opened the cab."
Feel better about that delay now?
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