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Several Crumbling Trains Force DC Metro Riders Onto Overflowing Platforms

(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A number of broken-down trains caused massive delays and overcrowded platforms along three lines of the D.C. Metro system Wednesday.

A power problem at the West Falls Church station initially delayed orange line trains in the early hours of Wednesday’s commute. Soon after an unspecified medical emergency at the L’Enfant Plaza station forced trains on the yellow and green lines to single-track for much of the morning. A disabled train at the Virginia Square station forced trains to single track on the orange line at roughly 9 a.m., stranding riders on overcrowded platforms, reports The Washington Post.

Officials with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) quickly resumed normal service on the orange line after the breakdown but warned of residual delays throughout the morning.

Orange Line trains traveling between the Vienna and West Falls Church stations are single-tracking for 42 day for Surge 9 SafeTrack repairs that began Sept. 15. D.C. Metro officials are warning riders at the Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations to anticipate large disruptions to regular service throughout the maintenance work. Officials will also conduct added repairs every weekend through the surge, which ends Oct. 26.

Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans derided the 16-member board that oversees the system for being unwieldy and lacking a sense of urgency to fix the deteriorating transit system. In his view, the board members fail to appreciate the bigger picture of the problems facing the struggling Metro service. (RELATED: ‘Split Loyalty’ Causes Fissure On DC Metro Board, Chairman Says It Should Be Disbanded)

“Here we are in the death spiral, and everybody is acting the same way,” Evans told The Washington Post. “It just drives me nuts.”

Evans is frustrated at the lack of additional funding for the Metro from Congress and localities, arguing board members are reluctant to ask their region for more money. Repairs and regular service disruptions from breakdowns have tainted the public’s view of the Metro system and pushed many customers into driving or busing into the District. Only 42 percent of Metro riders said the system is reliable in a recent survey.

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