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Metro Single Tracking Due to Derailment at Rosslyn

by ARLnow.com April 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm 4,952 36 Comments

Blue and Orange Line trains are single tracking between D.C. and Arlington due to a derailment at Rosslyn station.

The incident was first reported by WMATA as a “track problem” around 7:15 p.m. Minutes later the agency announced that Blue and Orange Line service was temporarily suspended in between D.C. and Arlington due to a “minor” derailment. No injuries have been reported and WMATA says passengers on the train were “safely moved to platform.”

Trains started single tracking around 7:30 p.m. and are now running with a 20 minute headway, according to Metro. The agency is advising Blue Line passengers to use the Yellow Line between D.C. and Virginia, if possible.

  • DeportEmAll

    It was utter chaos and despair at Rosslyn this evening. Normal.

  • BrianKal

    Does anyone want to take an over/under on how long until WMATA (god forbid) kills someone again? Your choice of:
    Brake Failure
    Undetected Train
    Black mold
    Operator error
    Yet, they will make excuses for everything like this is only a “minor” derailment .. it was embrassing watching them defend it on the 10pm news

    • drax

      Let’s panic now!

      • Tom

        I agree … I have ZERO trust or respect for WMATA. And is a main reason, I’d rather sit in traffic then die in their hands

        • drax

          You’re much more likely to die in traffic. Just FYI.

          • Fred Jr

            nah, with Metro, more likely to die there

          • drax

            Well, no, that’s false, Fred.

            Mile for mile, you are much more likely to die in a car accident than on Metro.

            Here, everyone read this:


          • Zoning Victim

            I must be reading the data wrong. The links from that article to RITA’s site say the deaths per 100 million vehicle miles in 2008 are:

            Motor Vehicle, Urban: 0.8
            Transit: 4.5

            From 1990-2008, the number is consistently lower for motor vehicles than transit.

            In the DC metro area, there are more fatalities per year on the beltway than there has been in the history of Metro, as far as I can tell.

            Here are the links to RITA’s numbers:


            Here is an article that talks about where most of the fatal accidents happen on the beltway:

          • CarolynP

            Good info, ZV. That transit fatality statistic is pretty scary.

          • drax

            Where did you get those rates? They aren’t on the links in this article, there are no rates in the links.

            The problem, I think, is the use of “urban” motor vehicles. That probably doesn’t include highways, which are much less safe. City streets are unlikely to cause deaths because the speeds are slower. It’s 395 or 66 or the Beltway that will get you, as you note.

            Regardless, this simply demonstrates that death is extremely unlikely on Metro, or in a car on a city street, once you survive the trip into the city.

          • drax


            If you think that’s scary, you should be twice as scared driving on the interstates, since their death rate is twice as high.

            This is all about perspective.

          • Zoning Victim

            Drax, those rates are at the bottom of each page after all of the actual numbers on fatalities and injuries. For rural motor vehicle rates from that year, it was 2.11 per 100 million vehicle-miles (VMs). So, even when you add the two together (somewhat unfair since you can’t take the metro in rural communities), you still come out with 2.91 for all motor vehicle traffic per 100M VMs. That’s still higher than the fatality rate for both all transit (the 4.5 number) and the heavy-rail only transit (4.6).

            Even more interesting is that light rail, like our proposed trolley, averaged a staggering 22.6 fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles over the period from 2000-2008 (most recent transit numbers) and had one year, 2000, that had a fatality rate of 42.3 (and wasn’t the highest year on the chart!).

            Don’t get me wrong, I can hardly believe the numbers I’m typing, which is why I posted this hoping that someone will see something I’m not that disproves my whole post. I, like you, have always been under the impression that transit, especially rail transit, was safer than driving.

          • CarolynP


            I do not see where you found that in the tables on the government website. It looks like interstate fatalities are several times fewer than any type of transit, per mile used. I admit that interstates can be scary places though! Just glad the government is compiling these statistics for us.

          • drax

            I still think it’s urban vs. rural roads that bring the difference in numbers here.

          • Arlingtune

            The government stats do not lie. Transit is way more deadly than cars.

          • Zoning Victim

            I count about 15 deaths since 1982 on Metro; no way traffic deaths have been that low:


          • SouthPikeGuy

            I laud public transportation’s role in thinning out the gene pool for the rest of us. I just wish they didn’t have to take so much of my tax money to do it. Price you pay, I guess.

    • Josh S

      What would be interesting is a comparison of the number of people who die from other causes between now and the next time someone dies on Metro. You know, things like:

      car crash,
      ped hit by car,
      drunken driver
      bike hit by car,
      Bolt Bus crash
      charter bus returning from Charlestown Slots crash

      And, just to really keep things interesting, let’s also include:

      slipping and falling in bathtub
      accidental gun discharge
      accidental overdose
      death by livestock
      electricution (not state sponsored)
      wild animal attack

      Let’s keep track of how many deaths occur from all of these categories before the next death by Metro. For consistencies sake, we should leave out suicides by jumping in front of a Metro train or bus.

      Then the real fun over/under question would be how many deaths from all these other categories before the next death by Metro. We can narrow it down to the DC Metro area. I’ll put the over/under at 100 to start. Which way will the smart money go?

      • Ballstonienne

        You should adjust that number to 1000, since there are 10x the number of people in the DC area than what Metro carries per day.

        Or did you already factor that in?

        Also, you kind of creep me out.

    • LuvDusty

      I vote for escalator malfunction as the more likely culprit.

  • Curious George

    I vote for zombie outbreak.

    On second thought zombies would probably provide better service.

    Glad I didn’t work late in Crystal City today. Only missed the fun by an hour.

  • novasteve

    What on earth could cause a derailment IN the actual station? The tracks are completely straight. Another earthquake? Was something on the tracks?

    • nom de guerre

      “AT Rosslyn station.” Metro indicated this morning that they are looking at a switch. My guess is that an automatic transmission contributed to this incident.

  • novasteve

    Metro free diet!

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    Dan Stessel assured us on the TEE VEE that this was only a *minor* derailment and there’s nothing to worry about. Only one wheel left the track. It’s like a touch of the plague or a little bit of leprosy. Nothing to worry about.

    • novasteve

      a little bit pregnant

      • NovaSteveFail

        You are not original, this was on Twitter last night. And ARLNOW, why are you deleting this? You need a clear comment policy

      • nom de guerre

        Almost enough fuel to fly you to Cartagena to enjoy the traffic.

    • drax

      Let’s panic some more!

    • NotStessel

      Or the ‘phenonman’ known as orange crush … Carry on, nothing to see here, one of my nearly 100 marketers will spin this for y’all. Kthxbie.

      • drax

        That’s why people are abandoning Metro in droves! The cars are nearly empty!

        Oh, wait, let me work on that.

  • HughJassPhD

    I’d rather drive and kill the earth slowly.

  • Arlingtron

    I love how WMATA down plays any problem. “Track problem.” Come on, it’s a derailment, a major mechanical malfunction. We are grown ups and can handle the actual news. Please stop softening your updates. Vague descriptions do not make the incident less harsh. It only makes you look out of touch when we find out it is more serious.

    Even minor derailments are not as easy to fix as changing a flat tire, there will be big delays needed to move the train and repair the track. Big ones include toppled cars with casualties.

    WMATA needs to improve response times to establish alternate means of moving people in the system. Faster bus bridges combined with single tracking until the problem is entirely cleared up.

    • novasteve

      Actually given Metro, their response and repair was amazingly quick. When I heard about this yesterday I figured there’d be no way in hell this would be dealt with by the morning, so I was planning on taking the bus in, and to my shock, metro was operating normally today. My fear is that they’ll try to bury any story of incompetence that may have been involved with repair crews, drivers, and of course, management.


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