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Widespread Delays Grip DC Metro System After Major Mechanical Failures

(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

Commuters on the D.C. Metro suffered major service delays Thursday morning across four lines following two track switch malfunctions and a train breakdown.

Riders reported crowded platforms and slow train service throughout the morning on the orange, blue and silver lines following a switch breakdown outside the Smithsonian station at roughly 5:30 a.m. Officials suspended all service between the McPherson Square and Smithsonian stations until the issue could be resolved.

Despite resuming normal service by 6:20 a.m., another switch malfunction was reported outside the Smithsonian station at 8:15 a.m., and continued to delay riders in both directions, reports WJLA.

Riders along the red line experienced delays for several hours due to a disabled train at the Glenmont station, which had to be offloaded. (RELATED: DC Metro Worker Allegedly Told ‘This Isn’t The Job For You’ After Reporting Sexual Harassment)

Debris falling from the ceiling of the Rhode Island Avenue station Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. spooked some riders and forced officials to close the station for the remainder of the night. Workers made repairs and officials said there is no structural damage in the station. Officials opened the station for Thursday morning’s commute and there were no residual delays, reports FOX5.

Various portions of blue line track are shut down, and there is continuous single tracking between the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations until Sept. 11 due to Surge 8 SafeTrack repairs. Trains are running just once every 24 minutes at the Franconia-Springfield station and every 12 minutes at the Van Dorn Street station.

The current surge of SafeTrack repairs also includes disruptions to weekend service, which were added recently after a number of federal investigations. Inspections revealed familiar safety threats on all six lines of tracks throughout the transit system, similar to the mechanical issues blamed for the July 29 derailment of a silver line train. The potential threats forced officials to overhaul their safety plan to meet the standards set forth by the FTA.

Officials will shut down various portions of blue line track for two consecutive weekends as part of the revisions. The Franconia- Springfield station will close the first two weekends of September. Both the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations will be closed on Labor Day.

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