How do you beat the heat on Metro?
We'll give away a couple tips that seem to work.
First, If you're brave enough to ride in the front car, they usually have AC. The only reason we can think why is that the operator is in there. This scheme has only failed once.
Secondly, our home station of East Falls Church is outside, so there's no chilling going on at all, but we have noticed that there is often a decent draft flowing upward through the large openings between the street level and the platform above. When waiting for 12 minutes for a train during rush hour, we often lean into the opening for just a touch of relief.
Our other home station, Federal Center SW, always seems to be relatively cool. We know this is not the case for all stations.
What are some stations to avoid?
On a somewhat brighter note, the kink problems that turned the Red Line into a complete mess yesterday are likely to dissipate if it stays hot. Here's what a source familiar with rail safety had to say:
If it stays this hot for a while you'll probably see fewer heat kinks, but if it cools off and then heats up again you'll have more. It's the intense shifts in ambient temperature that do it, more so than the extreme temps in either direction. Slow, gradual shifts in ambient temperature over time result in fewer heat kinks or rail breaks.
When it eventually cools off, if they've cut heat-kinked rail and replaced it, you could get that new segment contracting in a cold snap and have the problem in reverse.
Outdoor light rail systems in California, like Santa Clara, or Valley Metro in Phoenix, are plagued with these problems; all they can do is make sure they buy good heat-treated rail and conduct aggressive track inspections when the weather starts shifting.
Finally, if all else fails, you might want to try this drinking game courtesy of the Washingtina blog.
- Sunday's Metro death appears to have been caused when the man likely "fell accidentally onto the tracks and was not there intentionally," according to Metro. More about the victim here.
- New SmarTrip cards in August (Examiner)
- BART riders have a little fun (Treehugger)
- World's worst commutes (The Atlantic)