- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - Below-freezing temperatures in the nation’s capital wreaked havoc on the Thursday-morning commute for riders of the city’s Metro train system.

At one point, five of the system’s six lines were experiencing delays, some more than an hour as temperatures dipped to 12 degrees at Reagan National Airport.

Four of the lines were delayed because of broken or cracked rails. The fifth was because of weather-related equipment problems on train cars, including brake issues and doors that wouldn’t shut, said Dan Stessel, spokesman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Stessel said all the problems were weather-related.

Hundreds of commuters vented their frustration with the delays on Twitter using the hasthag #wmata, with many posts including photos of stations and trains jam-packed with people. One Twitter user wrote that he loves being told to avoid lines that have delays, adding, “OK, I’ll just move my house and job for the day.”

Another compared the morning commute to “The Hunger Games” series, which depicts children killing each other to survive. Another said he was expecting the scene to turn into “Lord of the Flies” after he witnessed two women arguing about whose purse was touching whom.

Many posted that after waiting 40-plus minutes, they decided to give up and go back home or find another way to get to work.

“I’ve missed three trains because there’s no room and I’m a skinny person,” one woman wrote.

Another man wrote: “Thank you, Metro - 2.5 hours of my life I cannot get back.”

Stessel said the broken and cracked rails on four of the Metro lines had been fixed by lunchtime. As for the equipment problems on the fifth line, Stessel said trains on that line are among the system’s oldest, at 40 years old, and will be replaced with new train cars beginning in the next few weeks.

“All we can do is apologize to riders for what was a very, very difficult morning,” Stessel said. “And we know that, especially in temperatures this cold, every additional minute you’re waiting on an outdoor platform seems like 20 minutes.”


Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP

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