Metro rail cracks again, snarling morning commute

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Metro officials are trying to determine what caused a Red Line rail to crack and cause significant delays during the Thursday morning commute, the second such incident in recent weeks.

The crack was discovered near the Tenleytown Station at about 7 a.m. Service was further delayed when a Red Line train between the Friendship Heights and Van Ness stations stopped because of a triggered safety mechanism.

Metro official said the train stopped because the mechanism sensed a door was open.

“If the train doesn’t think the doors are closed, it can’t move,” said Metro official Brian Anderson. He also said the mechanism might have been triggered by a passenger leaning on a door. The conductor found the problem door and got the train moving.

Two weeks ago, plummeting temperatures caused a 4-inch crack in a Yellow Line rail, near the Pentagon station. The crack was reported during the morning rush hour and caused significant delays on the Yellow and Blue lines.

Crews replaced the section of rail before the evening commute. A smaller crack was repaired on a Red Line track the same day.

Transit officials said at the time the problem was the result of overnight freezing, but temperatures Wednesday night and early Thursday morning were well above freezing.

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