63 passengers evacuated after Metro train derailment; single tracking likely Tuesday morning

Metro says single-tracking for a portion of Red Line will likely continue into Tuesday morning after a Metro train carrying 63 people derailed inside a tunnel near D.C.'s Farragut North station Monday morning.

According to Metro, investigators believe the derailment was caused by a break in the rail that occurred as the 8-car train was passing over it. They say the first four cars of train passed the location without incident, but three train cars did derail.

"Based on what we have learned so far and what I have personally seen, the investigation is focusing on the track infrastructure -- the actual rail itself," said Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld. "Specifically, investigators are looking into whether a break in the rail developed as the train was passing over the incident."

Metro and federal investigators are continuing to investigate the derailment.

Audio obtained by FOX 5 between D.C. firefighters describes a large portion of track of about 10 to 15 feet was missing.

The rail where this derailment happened was inspected back in August and was installed in 1993. It was due to be inspected next month as well.

As of 10:45 p.m. Monday, Metro crews have moved out the first four rail cars from the tunnel and have re-railed two of the three cars that were derailed. Metro says it expects the work to continue overnight into Tuesday morning.

Metro officials say with the repairs and the continuing investigation, single tracking will likely continue through Tuesday morning between Farragut North and Judiciary Square stations. Wiedefeld says passengers should plan for extra time in their morning commute on Tuesday and trains will run every 10 minutes between Shady Grove and Glenmont on the Red Line.

The derailment was reported at about 6:30 a.m. Monday along a stretch of the Red Line between the Farragut North and Metro Center stations. Passengers had to walk to safety after being evacuated.

Fire officials said after the derailment, 63 passengers were escorted by emergency crews about 200 yards as they walked through the tunnel to the Metro Center station. Officials identified the cars that derailed as being part of the new 7000 series.

Metro suspended service for several hours, with shuttle service provided between the closed stations. Single tracking between the Farragut North and Judiciary Square stations began later Monday morning and continued into the night. Road closures that impacted the street above ground have since reopened.

Officials say no injuries were reported. Passengers were stuck inside of the train for over an hour.

The audio obtained by FOX 5 also appears to show that there were communication issues between Metro workers above ground and inside the tunnels. Wiedefeld did acknowledge there were communication problems with Metro's radios during a news conference Monday afternoon.