• Metro Operations Post-Accident

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

  by NellieBly
Rode the Red Line this morning, my first trip since the accident on June 22. My normal commute is from Forest Glen to Gallery Place, thence a Yellow or Blue train to L'Enfant Plaza.

Trains from Glenmont appear to be back on a normal headway, five minutes or so between trains. Train I boarded was not crowded at all; don't know if that's because a lot of folks are on vacation this week, or because riders are still avoiding Metro. We made normal track speed until the portal north of Silver Spring, where we stopped for a couple of minutes, due (according to our operator) to a train in the platform. When we platformed, we sat for three or four more minutes due to "a train ahead".

When we finally moved, we came to another stop between Silver Spring and Takoma Park, sat for a couple of minutes, then moved into the Takoma Park platform, did our station work, and then proceeded at what seemed like about 35 MPH through the accident area. We didn't stop again until the station stop at Ft. Totten, and then proceeded as normal beyond that point.

There is no sign of an accident remaining, no bits and pieces of trains or any other equipment on the wayside.

Metro has apparently begun moving the 1000-series cars (the original Rohr equipment) to mid-train positions. Our train had six cars; the two middle ones were 1000-series, and I noted several trains in Brentwood Yard with 1000 series cars in mid-train positions.

At Gallery Place, platform was more crowded than usual with large numbers of passengers transferred to the Red Line (presumably from Yellow and Green lines). Other than that, operations seemed normal.
  by HokieNav
I've found that Red line trains are crazy crowded going from Gallery Place -> Union Station in the afternoon. Not sure why, as the headways and train speed seem to be normal.

Also, the unusual "T" shape of that station means that the trains pulling to the end of the platform really messes with the traffic flow and confuses people. Fortunately, with a little bit of knowledge, putting the massive difference in loading from one end of the train to the other to my advantage is a trivial operation. :D
  by NellieBly
Yesterday afternoon on the way home, and again this morning, I confirmed that WMATA is running a manual block between Takoma and Ft. Totten. There is a Metro employee in a safety vest at the south end of Takoma's platform and another at the north end of Ft. Totten (under a Sabrett hot dog umbrella!). This morning, we stopped at Takoma and the operator explained we were waiting for the train ahead to clear Ft. Totten station.

What a shame they didn't start doing this on June 17, when the track circuit first started acting up. If they had, nine people would still be alive and 51 others wouldn't be in the hospital...

The 1000 series cars now all appear to be confined to mid-train service. All the trains we passed this morning but one were eight-car trains, and each had four 1000 series cars sandwiched by newer cars. One six-car train had two 1000 series cars.

Service is still a bit slower than normal, but getting better.
  by SchuminWeb
Eh... I don't know if I'd say "getting better" just yet. My commute is still at least 15 minutes longer than pre-accident, and that's been consistent since I resumed riding Metro once both tracks were clear again.
  by farecard
I wonder why WMATA isn't making the fewer trains that are running all 8-car ones.

You can space 8-car trains as closely as 6-car.
  by CHIP72
My job involves traveling on both the Red and Green Lines between Silver Spring and Navy Yard/Nationals Park. I was out of the office from 7/2-7/13 (going back to work tomorrow, 7/14 :( ), but I know from 6/26 to 7/1 the Red Line didn't have peak period trains that turned at Silver Spring (or presumably Grosvenor), which is a definite inconvenience for people boarding at Silver Spring, Takoma, and essentially all the stations at least to Union Station and often Gallery Place. (Not coincidentally, my AM travel pattern on 6/29-7/1 involved a change at Fort Totten rather than Gallery Place; in the PM I almost always change at Fort Totten and from 6/24-6/26 I used the MARC Brunswick Line and DC Circulator bus in place of the Metrorail.) I can't say I was surprised by the reduced number of trains, considering (I'd guess) you'd need automated train control to have 2 1/2 minute headways on the Red Line.

I'll be glad when the Red Line is finally back to normal, at least in terms of not breaking the line into 2 sections, Glenmont-Silver Spring and Fort Totten-Shady Grove, after 10 PM. That setup really stinks if you are going to a Nationals weeknight game in particular.

As for the heavy volumes in the PM rush (and oftentimes AM rush) between Gallery Place and Union Station, I actually don't think those volumes are as heavy as they are between Metro Center and Gallery Place. Most of the time when I change from Green (or Yellow) to Red at Gallery Place, there are more people getting off the train than getting on, or at least that's my impression. I do wonder about the heavy volumes of people often getting off at Union Station though (especially at off-peak times in the evenings) - there's probably more to it than merely people transferring to Amtrak, MARC, VRE, or Greyhound. My suspicion is a lot of people use the Union Station parking garage for park-and-ride purposes (though I could be wrong). It's also possible a relatively large number of people use the station to transfer to a Metrobus or DC Circulator bus there.

On a totally unrelated note, as annoying as the Metro Red Line situation has been to riders who regularly use Red Line stations (and obviously tragic for those involved in the 6/22 accident), at least Metrorail trains almost always move a lot faster than CTA trains in Chicago (where I vacationed most of last week). WMATA also doesn't run SHORT 4 car trains off-peak (and all day on the CTA Pink Line) like CTA does either. (Having said the above, the CTA system is a very interesting system, at least for an occasional or visiting rider. Because most of the lines, except portions of the Red Line and Blue Line, are above-ground, it's also a visually more interesting system and also an easier system to follow for an unfamiliar rider.)