News & Politics

12 of the Weirdest Reasons for Metro Delays

Deer on the tracks. A woman giving birth. Some genius throwing a basketball at a train.

Photo illustration by Manyun Zou.

“We’ll be moving momentarily.” This announcement fills Metro riders with dread, and for good reason. What you don’t always hear is why your train is delayed. A dive into WMATA data that tabulate disruption reports between 2012 and now lists many routine reasons for delays–and some that defy easy explanation.

Deer struck by train

Nara deer
Image via iStock.

This happened more than 60 times, on multiple lines.

Rodent in car

Via Giphy.

Just imagine the screams.

Bird in operator cab

Via Giphy.


Dog in track area

Image via iStock.
Image via iStock.

Rover! Come home!

Passengers walking between cars


Don’t do this.

Customers holding doors

Via Giphy.

This has caused delays for as long as 6 minutes.

Someone giving birth

Image via iStock.

Welcome to the world, little Glenmont.

Basketball thrown in front of train

Via Giphy.
Via Giphy.

That’s not how you play basketball.

Brush fire on the right of way

Via Giphy.

This happened three times.

Sleeping customer reported as sick passenger


Just leave the dude alone so we can get home.

Report of a lost item

Unless you lost an eyeball, don’t stop our train!

A presidential motorcade

Via Giphy.

No relief from those, even on the train.

Editorial Fellow

Zack Bu is an editorial fellow. He graduated from Columbia Journalism School with a concentration in data journalism. He writes and codes and is passionate about combing the two. He’s written for Quartz and