Metrorail Closes Doors for 29 Hours

1024px-Tenleytown–AU_(WMATA_station)In the ongoing love-hate relationship Washingtonians have with Metro, chalk another one up in the hate column. Metro General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld announced this afternoon that the entire Metrorail system would be closed tomorrow. You read that right – all six Metro lines and all 91 stations will be shut down through 5:00 a.m. Thursday, March 17.

The closure comes on the heels of a tunnel fire at the McPherson Square Station on Monday. “The investigation into yesterday’s cable fire at McPherson Square is ongoing,” Wiedefeld said.  “As a preliminary matter, the conditions appear disturbingly similar to those in the L’Enfant incident of a year ago, and our focus is squarely on mitigating any risk of a fire elsewhere on the system.”

Metro will inspect all of the third-rail power cables – nearly 600 cables in total.

Locals were understandably disgruntled upon hearing the news, especially as the announcement came late Tuesday afternoon allowing employers, employees, and schools little time to pre-plan.

While Metrobus and MetroAccess will continue to operate as scheduled, Metro authorities caution that “severe crowding is expected on buses.”

To help Washingtonians get around the city on Wednesday, Capital Bikeshare announced that it would offer free 24-hour memberships at all of its 370 stations. Usage fees will still apply for any rides over 30-minutes.

The DC and Federal governments will remain open throughout they closure. Federal government employees, however, will have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

DC Public Schools will also open as scheduled, but will forgive absences or late arrivals due to Metrorail closure.

Image credit: Shujenchang