When in Washington, this does happen from time to time…

August 8, 2007, 7:50 PM

Towards the end of the day at work today, my cell phone went off for a text message. Dupont Circle, Woodley Park-Zoo, and Cleveland Park stations closed for a while due to a suspicious package. As it turns out, the package was harmless, containing cardboard and paper.

Still, it caused a major delay in Metro service. And all the more amazing was that Metro was actually calling it a “major” delay. Realize that this is a transit operator that considers single-tracking on significant amounts of several lines with 20-minute waits for trains during the day to be a “minor” delay. But this time, Metro even went so far as to say to avoid the Red Line altogether. The suspicious package was on a train at Dupont Circle. Woodley Park-Zoo and Cleveland Park were closed to allow trains to turn back towards Shady Grove using the interlocking at Van Ness-UDC. Then on the other side, trains turned back towards Glenmont using the pocket track at Farragut North. Then Metro ran a “bustitution” (where buses are used to fill in for the lack of rail service) between Van Ness and Farragut North.

Thankfully, Dupont Circle reopened just as I was getting ready to leave work, so my commute went off normally, though I had come up with a plan B after learning of Dupont Circle’s closure. My plan was to go to Farragut North to catch the train there, and contend with a bazillion cranky commuters all pushing to get their butts in 68 seats. Alternately, I could walk to Mt. Vernon Square or Shaw on the Green Line and then catch up with the Red Line at Fort Totten. That would have probably involved an Infoshop visit as well, since I’d be going right by.

I could have also gone by bus, and taken the S4 from my building to Silver Spring, and then transferred to a Y from there (Y5, Y7, Y8, or Y9 didn’t matter) to get home. But the thought of having to ride a bus that far with all of its frequent stops was not my idea of a good time.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to put any of this into action. However, I did get one thing unusual – I got the railfan window, and so I got to, like, railfan the whole way back home. I haven’t sat right at the window like that in a long time.

We also learned that despite her baby’s having moved out of the house, Mom still worries about me. She heard about a suspicious package on the Red Line on the news, and knowing that I ride the Red Line, she called me at work to find out where I was. Always nice to hear from Mom, though I was kind of in the middle of something when she called.

Web site: And here's the obligatory news report on the situation, courtesy of our friends at Reuters...

Song: For some reason, I have "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain When She Comes" stuck in my head. Yes, the generic woman with her six wide horses.

Quote: The whole thing reminds me of one of those neologisms Metro coined a couple of years ago, encouraging riders to be "Plan-B-Dextrous" - in other words, have an alternate way home in case something goes kaplooie.

Categories: Family, WMATA