- The Washington Times - Friday, October 22, 2004

Metro subway riders can expect more delays this weekend, after problems yesterday made passengers late for school, work and other appointments.

“It was very frustrating because I didn’t know how long we’d be stuck there,” said Jocelyn Montgomery of Gaithersburg, who was stranded underground yesterday morning for about 25 minutes near the Takoma stop on the Red Line. “I was getting scared, to tell you the truth.”

Metro officials said a 54-inch horizontal crack in a rail closed the Red Line’s Judiciary Square station for about 40 minutes during the morning rush hour. Trains had to run on a single track from 8:20 a.m. until shortly after 11 a.m.

This was the first time in Metro’s 28-year history that a rail has split horizontally, agency officials said. The section of track was installed a year ago and inspected most recently on Wednesday. It is being sent to a metallurgical lab to determine the exact cause of the problem.

Metro officials said Red Line passengers can expect more delays today and tomorrow as crews continue to prepare the track for the Nov. 20 opening of the New York Avenue station. The delays will be about 10 to 15 minutes, and trains that normally run between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Silver Spring will end at Judiciary Square, then return to the Grosvenor-Strathmore station.

Service on the Blue Line will be limited this weekend, too. Metro officials have suspended trips between the Stadium-Armory and Addison Road-Seat Pleasant stations until 5 a.m. Monday so crews can install a new control system in preparation for extending the line to Largo on Dec. 18. Passengers who need to use the Addison Road, Benning Road and Capitol Heights stations can take free shuttle buses running every five minutes.

The broken track yesterday made Miss Montgomery, 30, and her two children about an hour late for a doctor’s appointment. She said her 7-year-old daughter, Jordache, was frightened to the verge of tears and that she had to “beg the doctor” to see her children.

To compensate the Montgomery family and other passengers, Metro offered off-peak fares throughout yesterday. The discount is expected to cost the agency about $150,000.

“We know people were inconvenienced, and we are just as upset as they are that there was a problem,” said Steven Feil, Metro’s chief operating officer.

“I was annoyed,” said Larry Mallory, whose 40-minute Red Line commute from Glenmont to Gallery Place took more than an hour yesterday. “They’ve got only two tracks going, so if one breaks down they don’t seem to have a good alternative. They’ve got some growing pains.”

Other passengers said a safer ride is their priority.

“It’s not convenient,” said Turner Scott, 20, a Montgomery College student who was late for class when his two-minute ride from the Fort Totten station to the Takoma station took more than 20 minutes. “If they need to work on the tracks to make it better, it’s fine with me.”

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