WASHINGTON — Riders of Metro’s Red Line should expect fewer and slower-moving rush hour trains on the line through at least July 19 while the National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation into the cause of the June 22 train accident near the Fort Totten Metrorail station.
Red Line riders can expect that their trips may take an additional 30 minutes or possibly more to complete and they should build that added time into their plans.
Two six-car Red Line trains collided at 5 p.m. Monday, June 22, leaving four people dead, including a female train operator. In addition, there were a number of injuries reported, many serious.
According to authorities, one train rear-ended the other. The operator who was killed in the crash was on the trailing train.
Trains must continue to move one at a time at a reduced speed between the Takoma and Fort Totten Metrorail stations. This causes the other trains along the line to move slower and wait for the ones that are passing through the accident area. It also results in fewer trains along the busy Red Line because the system’s ability to move more trains is impacted when they must move one at a time between the two stations.
If trains get backed up, it is possible that some may be offloaded to turn trains around. This maneuver will allow Metro to get some trains to Glenmont, which in turn can provide more service for people traveling from Glenmont or Silver Spring into downtown Washington.
During this same timeframe, the Takoma Metrorail station will close at 10 p.m. each night to allow investigators to continue their work. When the station is closed, the Red Line will be divided into two segments, with trains running between the Glenmont and Silver Spring Metrorail stations, and between the Fort Totten and Shady Grove Metrorail stations. Shuttle buses will take riders around the investigation work, stopping to pick up and drop off riders at the Fort Totten, Takoma and Silver Spring Metrorail stations.
“I understand that our riders are experiencing uncomfortably crowded trains and platforms. I understand people’s commutes are taking longer to complete,” said Metro General Manager John Catoe. “Rider safety is the most important thing that we are focused on right now, even if safety means someone’s trip will take longer. We appreciate the patience that our riders have exhibited.”
If the NTSB is able to complete its work prior to July 19, service on the Red Line will return to normal. If the NTSB needs more time to conduct its investigation, Metro officials will announce an extension of the current Red Line service levels.