We'd never paid that much attention to the series of Metro cars we were riding. Sure, some were nicer than others, but we'd assumed they all met at least some sort of basic security requirements, or they wouldn't be on the tracks.
Last night, we came home on the Orange Line from Federal Center, SW to East Falls Church, and we got a whole new appreciation for cars.
To call it frightening would be going too far, but it certainly was unnerving in light of recent events.
The escalator at Federal Center drops you near the front of the Vienna-bound trains, and we usually aim for the second car.
Yesterday, the second car was out of service, so we ended up in the first car, which was a 1000-series relic from the '70s. These cars seem to be an early focus of the investigation into what went wrong on the Red Line Monday. All but one car on this train were 1000s.
You've ridden them. There are nearly 300 in Metro's rolling stock--about a quarter of all cars.
The ride is roller coasteresque--lots of jostling--the lights flicker, but the sounds are the most eerie. Groaning. Creaking. Squeaking. Wheezing. But lower down the register, there was deep repetitive clunking sound when the breaks were applied, which they were with great frequency on this trip.
Riders all around were exchanging nervous smiles as if to ask "this is cool, right?"
The stops at EVERY station were abrupt enough to cause people to brace, and even then, many had to step into the stop to keep from being tossed down the car.
"This driver sucks," blurted one rider quite loudly, which elicited several cackles.
It's hard to judge a driver's skill when they're driving an antiquated, worn out rail car that feels held together with string and chewing gum.
These rickety jalopies need to be retired.
More accident coverage:
Red Line accident on Wikipedia (h/t) @campariman
Operator applied brakes before crash (WaPo)
A milquetoast column by WaPo
Remembering the victims (WaPo)
Metro braces for lawsuits (Washington Times)
WMATA's sanitzed history (Balt. Sun)
The latest press release from Metro