Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Metro crews were out yesterday investigating a subway derailment in which the last car of a train left the tracks.
No one was hurt when the train derailed Monday evening near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Morning rush-hour service was drastically reduced yesterday, inconveniencing thousands of commuters. Repairs were completed just after the start of the evening rush, and all service was resumed, though with speed restrictions near the accident site.
“Metro personnel, track and structures, engineering, all of our personnel have been there throughout the day investigating,” Metro spokesman Stephen Taubenkibel said.
Meanwhile, Metro is investigating why it took emergency crews 15 minutes to respond to the derailment.
Officials told WUSA-TV (Channel 9) there was concern about communications problems between Metro and Arlington County rescue workers.
The initial call for help was from a passenger aboard the train who called 911 on his cell phone.
When Arlington County Fire and Rescue first called Metro, it was incorrectly told that the derailment occurred at the Crystal City station.
About 46 passengers were aboard the Blue Line train at the time of the derailment. They were put on a shuttle bus and taken back to the airport, where they were interviewed as part of the investigation.
Metro officials were still trying to determine a preliminary cause.
“We’re doing the investigation,” Mr. Taubenkibel said. One set of wheels on the last car of the six-car train left the track.
The train was left in place for several hours before being removed about 5 a.m. yesterday, when crews began repairing the damaged section of track.
Officials have not been able to set a dollar figure on the damage.
Commuters awoke yesterday to traffic reports that encouraged them to avoid using the Blue and Yellow Line trains that were affected by the derailment.
Metro used buses to transport some subway riders. Trains were single tracked on shortened routes on either side of the damaged section.
A Blue Line train derailed in the roughly the same area in September 1982. No one was injured.
Eight months earlier, three passengers were killed and 25 injured when an Orange Line train derailed near the Smithsonian station.

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