DC's Public Transportation Nightmare

Monday, June 22, 2009

In case you haven't turned on a television, listened to a radio or used a computer in the past two & a half hours, today's big news is this: The Metro crashed.

Two train cars on the redline (the line I live on), collided head-to-rear around the start of rush hour between Fort Totten & Takoma Park when one train slammed into a stopped train ahead of it. A 7:15 press conference by Mayor drian Fenty, DC Fire Chief Dennis Rubin & Metro General Manager John Catoe confirmed that at least four people are dead, including the driver of the latter train, & as many as 100 are injured, some critically. It's being reported as the deadliest Metro crash in history - & the fire department has indicated that it suspects the body count will rise.

After hearing the news, I raced home as well as one can "race" when taking a bus with what felt like the rest of the city (travel is mighty tight when there's no way to get home), & turned on the TV to discover that the photos & videos are much, much worse than I ever could have imagined. With one train literally sitting atop the other in a heap of twisted metal, it's like a scene ripped from "Die Hard."

If anything is fortunate about this situation, the only thing I can come up with is that it happened on one of the few stretches of the redline that's outside rather than underground. If anything is a blessing in such a tragedy, it's that 12 train cars full of wounded & shocked Metro riders weren't also trapped in underground tunnels, though my sometimes-clausterphobic self shudders in empathy for the folks on the otherwise-unaffected trains that are probably still stopped underground in wait as a result of the accident.

I first heard about it from one of our interns, & the from there, the "Are you OK?"s quickly started rolling in. My journalism friends from home, ever the diligent news readers, checked in on me one by one via frantic texts peppered with nervous exclamation points. Then my Twitter feed exploded, blogger friends checking in on one another's safety via "Where are you?" tweets. News stories began to expand, blog posts began to emerge, & I, for one, have successfully tracked down all but a couple of my DC friends to confirm their safety (fingers crossed for the others, please). Watching the press conference, I was struck by the enormity of my living in a city where something like this can happen.

After today's scare, I can promise you this: I will always, always check in via Twitter. If something goes down & you don't find me there, then you can start to worry. The only other good thing I can find in this disaster? Technology is, indeed, grand.


  1. This was the first time I've been in the middle of a blog/twitter frenzy during a breaking news story- along with the Iran protests, a classic example of how the rules have changed.

  2. Yeah, I was still at work when it happened so my roommate and I met up and avoided the Red line...I checked in on Twitter to make sure everyone else was OK...and gave an update on me.

    It's crazy how much things have changed since the days we were in high school...or even the beginning of college a few years ago.

  3. Hey silly.

    I followed you over here from WearingMascara when I saw you said you HATED your layout.

    1st off - I like it.

    2nd off - if you really want to change it but don't want to go through the money for a custom design, try http://www.bloggerstyles.com/

    Let me know if I can help with anything!

  4. Oh, and let me not be my heartless self.

    Here's to all of those who are safe, and those who were affected are in my thoughts.

    (If this were Twitter, I'd do #DC Metro.)

  5. Twitter really came through today. I am so happy you (and others) are okay. I'm saddened that other people weren't as lucky :-( I too, love your layout. However, after going through a design change many, many times please email me for advice if you need it. Sending love to you, my friend :-)

  6. I don't know how long you've been living in DC, but do you remember the very similar, but casualty-free, crash of November 2004? One car winded up right on top of another... in fact, here's a picture from inside the Woodley Park station. http://www.flickr.com/photos/87913776@N00/422547598

    Yeah. I was actually on the bottom train and managed to fling myself out the door about 5 seconds before the hit. With all the information today, the first thing I thought was thank G-d it was outside, because it took days to even clear the track from the 2004 accident since it was in the tunnel, let alone trying to send in rescue workers.

  7. I made the grave mistake of NOT checking in on Twitter for a couple hours... in fact, I completely misplaced my phone for an hour. And came back to about 20 "Where are you?"s. Never again! I've learned my lesson, I promise.

  8. First- I dont twitter- so be sure to facebook as well- I was worried about you as well; and don't have your cell phone to text you...so glad to hear you are okay!!


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