This sounds very scary. Reader Mia provides an inside account of a Metro train hitting a "communication" wire:
I am one of the unfortunate non-Federal workers who had to come in to work Feb. 9. I knew it would be a crapshoot as the trains are only running every 20 minutes. Fine. I can deal with that.
I boarded at Potomac Avenue to begin my journey to Dupont Circle. I sat down at my usual spot--second car, on the right side of the middle of the train, next to the window, and started reading my Express.
When we left L'Enfant, and as we started getting up to speed, there was a loud pop, the train shook violently, and sparks as big and bright as fireworks started spewing across the right side window. I gasped, the girl next to me stood up, and we all ran for the door that connected us to the car in front.
The train stopped.
The car began filling with smoke, with popping noises still going on, and sparks still flying outside the train.
People were crying, screaming. The people on the front car were trying to get into our car, and we were trying to get into their car. People were yelling, "fire, fire!!" Both of the front two cars were full of smoke, and no one knew what was going on- it was chaos.
We heard nothing over the intercom. Nothing. What were we supposed to do? Open the emergency doors and get out on the side of the track? Was the train on fire? Were the sparks from our train or from the track? Was the conductor unconscious? What was happening??
"Stand by, customers, stand by." That was it. That was all we got (two times) over almost 20 minutes.
At one point, the conductor (or someone in Metro gear) walked through the train and said, "we aight, we cool, we gonna be aight," and he walked through each car on the train.
Then we got another announcement, "Customers, we hit a wire, please stand by."
Okay- so after almost 30 minutes, smoke, sparks, hysteria, we find out what happened- we hit a wire. WHAT?? HOW??
Okay, so another man in Metro gear walks through, asks us to get our belongings together because they have an empty train at L'Enfant that is coming to evacuate us.
So the new train inches up to our train, and they open all the doors between all the train cars, and we evacuate out of our train into the new one. The new one backs up to the L'Enfant Station platform, and we offload at 9:01 a.m., after being told that "the train is out of service and trains are single-tracking around the disruption" so we'd have to get to the other side of the platform to get the next train.
My problems with this:
- sparks and smoke
- obviously unsafe tracks
- NO communication or information given to the passengers until 30 minutes of sitting in a smoke-filled car
- nothing like, "We're sorry," or any sign of condolence to the people who are obviously freaked out and crying
I just wanted to share this RIDICULOUS story with you, because I am now traumatized at being underground, trapped, for 40 minutes, with sparks and smoke, and no communication about what was going on.
Several people were saying this was the last straw, and one lady even said she'll never ride the trains again, she didn't care that she has to ride 3 buses to get to work, after this, she wanted nothing to do with Metro.
I plan on sending a complaint to Metro asap. Not that anything will be done about it.