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Metro Says Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines Will Run Slowly for Months

Better days. Photograph by Flickr user m01299.

It will take more than half a year for Metro to recover fully from an electrical fire that knocked out service on much of the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines earlier this week, the transit authority said Friday. Trains on those lines will run 33 percent less frequently to reduce them from bunching up at the Stadium-Armory station, where Monday’s blaze took out a power substation.

Metro severely restricted Blue, Orange, and Silver service for more than nine hours in some places Monday after a nine-megawatt substation near Stadium-Amory caught fire. In the wake of the incident, Metro is keeping Stadium-Armory operational with power drawn from other substations throughout the train system. Because those substations were already functioning at capacity, though, Metro is throttling the juice it sends to Stadium-Armory, meaning only one train per track can pass through at a time.

The upshot is that Blue, Orange, and Silver trains have been lurching into Stadium-Armory with frequent halts. To alleviate that condition, Metro’s solution is to reduce the rush-hour frequency of the Orange and Silver lines from one train every six minutes to eight minutes, and the Blue Line to one train every 12 minutes.

In a press release, Metro says it will attempt to increase the number of eight-car trains on the Silver and Orange lines. But the diminished frequency of trains and the speeds at which they can run are expected to make crowding on the affected lines worse

Rob Troup, Metro’s deputy general manager, told the transit authority’s board Friday it could take at least six months for the Stadium-Armory substation to be fully operational again.

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Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.