Wrong-way Signage Confuses Metro Passengers, Employees

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Metro passengers and employees had to call an audible Thursday morning when temporary signage contradicted the direction trains were traveling.

With one of three tracks out of service for a new phase of Metro’s SafeTrack repairs, the remaining two tracks shared a single platform.

When the West Falls Church station opened, Metro’s temporary paper signs indicated that trains arriving on the outer track were heading downtown and trains on the middle, or pocket track, were heading to Vienna.

During phase nine of Metro’s track work, a shuttle train is running every 24 minutes, between West Falls Church and Vienna. However, passengers sitting on a train they thought was heading downtown were surprised to hear the operator announce their train was bound for Vienna.

Bewildered passengers left the train, looking at the signs and searching for a supervisor. One passenger pounded on the train and yelled in frustration, “What direction is this train going in?”

Within minutes, several yellow-vested Metro employees were on the platform, and on radios, trying to understand what was happening.

At one point, the train operator was seemingly the only person aware which direction his train would be traveling.

Metro supervisors continued to direct passengers heading downtown toward trains on the center track, with trains to Vienna on the outer track.

Eventually, at 6:42 a.m., Metro employees took down the wrong-way signs.

Metro communications director Sherri Ly told WTOP it’s not clear why the signs were posted erroneously.

Ly said Metro procedures dictate that the shuttle trains must run on the outer track, while regular service runs on the center track.

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