WASHINGTON - Metro riders on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines encountered frustration and delays during Tuesday evening's rush hour as the transit system worked to repair to defective track parts.
Because of the repairs, all Orange and Blue line trains were single tracking between the Federal Center SW and Smithsonian stations during rush hour. But single tracking was extended between the Federal Center SW and McPherson Square stations after rush hour. Metro said they were expecting delays from 20 to 40 minutes for passengers during the evening rush.
Metro said all Silver Line trains would operate between Ballston and Wiehle-Reston East to reduce congestion. But passengers traveling to Silver Line stations in Virginia were advised to use the Orange Line to travel between D.C. and Ballston. Riders traveling from and to Virginia stations south of the Pentagon station were suggested to use the Yellow line as an alternate to the Blue line and commuters traveling between Washington D.C. and Orange line stations in Arlington were told to consider using Metrobus 38B service as an alternate route.
Workers decided to make repairs to defective rail fasteners after inspectors identified the problem with them during a routine track walk. Fasteners essentially keep the rails in place and if they fail, the rails can slide too far apart and cause a derailment.
FOX 5 witnessed large crowds on the platform at the Smithsonian station as passengers waited to board trains. A passenger told FOX 5 that because of recent stroke, he has difficulty keep balance and said Metro should think long and hard about the consideration for riders like him who could not even sit in their usual seats and instead had to hold on to the rail for a ride that usually takes 30 minutes, but ended up being twice that time on Tuesday.
"These service malfunctions that happen, it just seems though there are little things that could be done where they could even just have a sign set up outside at each Metro station warning there are delays or even have somebody from the station telling people that, 'Hey, there was this problem that happened and expect delays.' Something to give us warning before we go and tap into the system because then we're stuck," said Metro rider Greg Wagner.