Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Washington DC Metro orders unprecedented safety shutdown for at least one workday

All Metrorail service in Washington DC is suspended at least for the entire day Wednesday March 16, 2016, for emergency inspections of jumper third rail cables.  WMATA’s official story is here and the agency admits the incident on March 14 near McPherson resembles that near L’Enfant Plaza in Jan. 2015.

Many observers were not confident that the system could open March 17 normally, if more problems are found (which sounds likely, quite frankly). There could be questions about continued weekend service, when the district doesn’t have adequate 24-hour garages (as do many other cities).

 Businesses have never organized to provide this as they do in places like West Hollywood.  There will be Uber.

The minimum time for the shutdown is 29 hours; the first in history non-weather related.  Metro was shutdown over the weekend during the Jan. 23-24 blizzard.

Metrorail was also criticized even for allowing commuters to ride home today if they thought the system unsafe.  The announcement wasn’t made until 4:30 PM, when I was at Landmark E-Street downtown.

New York City MTA has been very reliable (except for strikes and citywide power failues),  However, on Dec, 29, 2014, there was a power failure on the IRT in the Bronx, forcing me to take a cab to get to the train show at the Bronx conservatory.  But the power failure was fixed in about two hours.
Top picture: track work.  Bottom: the "Mobius" metro in my screenplay "Epiphany" on Titan -- it has the ability to make people who risk riding it both sides younger.

Update: March 16

The latest is that the Metro is supposed to be open 5 AM Thursday.  The most serious problems, still to be resolved this evening, are near McPherson Square, Farragut North, and Potomac Ave. 

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