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More Metro problems?

August 28, 2007, 3:06 PM

Metro, Metro, Metro, what’s going on? As if five smoke and fire incidents on Sunday evening weren’t enough, the problems continued yesterday evening, according to Metro and The Washington Post. This time, there was a power failure from Pentagon to Braddock Road on the Blue and Yellow Lines, smoke in the tunnels near Pentagon City, and smoke at U Street-Cardozo caused by an overheated insulator.

It’s like Randi Rhodes said. Terrorists aren’t going to kill us, because our own aging infrastructure will do us in first. Now in Metro’s case, let’s see… we’ve so far had six stationary problems, and one train problem. I’ve not gotten wind of the car number that had the brake problem, so I can’t make a judgement about age, since it could have been a 30-year-old Rohr car, or a fresh-off-the-line Alstom, for all we know. Then for the others, we’ve had incidents at Mt. Vernon Square, U Street-Cardozo, Farragut North, Huntington, National Airport, and a large chunk of the C Route. Of these, Farragut North is 31 years old, National Airport is 30 years old, Huntington is 24 years old, and Mt. Vernon Square and U Street-Cardozo are both 16 years old. The section of the C Route that was affected was two different ages – from National Airport and on north is 30 years old, and south of National Airport is 24 years old. So this infrastructure is definitely no spring chicken anymore. Metro is also now considered a “mature” system, so one must be mindful of these things. Still, this is not good to have this many incidents happen so close together.

I also find it amusing to see that as usual they trotted out the token Homeland Security guy to say, “Not terrorism!” Remind me to thank the Bush propaganda machine for this person. The fact that the first thing that they rule out is terrrorism disturbs me somewhat. One would think that it would make more sense to rule out all the various benign causes before moving on to foul play, because it seems far more likely to me for an incident to be from a benign cause, like our own crumbling infrastructure than for something to be caused by someone bent on causing havoc. It’s like they say – never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

I’m just glad that so far none of it has happened during rush hour. That would really suck to be stuck on my morning Red Line train for a long time due to a fire-induced backup, or have to get off somewhere else and catch a bus somewhere. Of course, knowing Metro, if it happened during rush hour, they would probably just call it a “minor” delay and keep pushing trains through.

Still, let’s add item #65,826 to my friend Tristan’s “Things Metro Needs To Do” book: Stop letting the infrastructure catch fire.

Web site: "Metro Runs Smoothly After Smoke Problems Last Night" from The Washington Post

Song: In The Metro by The Capitol Steps: "Will their memory of DC be nothing but the smell of pee... coming from a guy who sits... and works on his croche-e-e-e-et!"

Quote: "More fires?" - Me upon hearing about it at work.

Categories: Radio, Security, WMATA