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When trains derail…

June 9, 2008, 10:11 PM

Hopefully, the events that transpired on Metro today are not an indicator as to what there is in store for this summer. Especially since I ride the Red Line, which seems to have more than its fair share of delays sometimes. But this time, the accident was on the Orange Line. So all of us on the Red Line can feel smug for a brief moment because it happened on someone else’s line for a change.

What happened was that a Vienna-bound Orange Line train derailed about 1,000 feet outside Court House station. Because of where the interlockings are located, this screwed up Orange Line service from Clarendon to Foggy Bottom-GWU, since trains had to be single-tracked around the incident. Blue Line service was mostly unaffected, because the derailment occurred on the K Route, which is an Orange-only route from Vienna to Rosslyn. I say “mostly” because some of the single-tracking spilled over onto the C Route, which runs from Metro Center to Huntington via Arlington Cemetery, which Blue Line trains use.

Thankfully, no one was injured in the derailment. As my father once said, there’s nothing money can’t fix. All they did was bash up some hardware. I was surprised to find out that the train was a 2000-series car – a Breda rehab – rather than what I would have expected, which was a CAF. CAF cars have a plethora of problems, and have been involved in multiple yard derailments, as well as being involved in the Mt. Vernon Square derailment last year. But no, it was a rehab. Go figure. No word on what the car number was, but Metro says that the consist was #905, and it was the third car of six.

What amuses me, however, is the fact that The Washington Post refers to the car involved this way: “The 2000 series car is one of the older model rail cars.” That’s only half true anymore. Yes, the car body dates from 1982, when Metro received its first order of Bredas. However, the 2000s went to Hornell, New York for rehabilitation in 2003-2004, and came back all shiny and new. They completely restructured the car body, put new systems in, and replaced the interior. So the cars are mostly newer than the CAF cars due to the rehab, which entered service in 2001-2004.

So I’ll be interested to see what they figure out about the cause. There’s no interlocking there, so we can rule out a switch problem, so we’ll have to see. When it comes to Metro, as with many other things in life, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. I’ll also be interested to find out the identity of the accident car. I hope it’s not 2008, which I had my photo taken on twice – once prior to rehab, and once after.

Web site: "Orange Line Train Derails in Va., Creating Delays" from The Washington Post

Song: I'm listening to Randi Rhodes right now, since I didn't get to on the way home from work, owing to the fact that I inadventently left my iPod at the office. Oops.

Quote: Two Metro press releases for you: First, Orange Line Train Derails with Passengers on Board, and second, Orange Line trains single-tracking into Tuesday, 30-minute delays expected.

Categories: WMATA