- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2010


A six-car subway train derailed Friday in downtown Washington, D.C., and injured three passengers, as many commuters returned to work for the first time since back-to-back snowstorms that began last weekend buried the region.

The accident occurred at about 10:15 a.m., at the Farragut North station, in the downtown area.

A preliminary report shows the front wheels of the train’s first car slipped off the tracks as it left the below-ground station, according to the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Passengers said the red line train stopped abruptly after departing the station and that they waited for about 90 minutes, at times in the dark, before being allowed to exit.

Emergency crews sent passengers in the first two cars into the four trailing cars. They then unhooked the front cars and returned the passengers to the station in the trailing cars.

Agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the train was in a “pocket track,” off the main tracks.

More than 340 passengers were on the train. D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin described the injuries are “very minor.”

The station closed briefly, then reopened at about noon.

The federal government, which employs roughly 230,000 workers in the region, reopened two hours late Friday after being closed for four straight days. The late opening resulted in especially crowded trains after the morning rush hour.

The accident is the most recent incident in a long string of problems for Metro that began in June when nine people were killed after a red line train struck the rear of another train.

Since then, at least two Metro employees have been killed while working on train tracks.

The transit system, which has the second largest subway system in the country, also faces a million-dollar shortfall and has just approved a fare increase.

The agency receives money from the federal government and from the District and the Maryland and Virginia municipalities it serves. But the income is not guaranteed.

In January, Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. announced his retirement after three years as the agency’s top manager. He will leave in April.

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