Broken Equipment on Orange Line Delays Morning Commute

Single-tracking between East and West Falls Church

Orange Line riders took to Twitter to vent their frustrations over delays and overcrowding as trains single-tracked for unexpected work Tuesday morning.

Trains shared a track between the East and West Falls Church stations due to broken signal equipment outside West Falls Church.

Crews completed repairs by 2:30 p.m., and normal service was restored.

Metro officials told News4's Adam Tuss the problem was caused by broken copper C bonds between the tracks. Personnel found the damaged equipment on the westbound track this morning, the transit authority said.

Crews are working to weld new connectors from rail to rail, News4's Tony Tull reports. It took workers about five minutes to replace each one.

Metro believes the damage was related to overnight testing for the Silver Line.

The unscheduled repairs translated into longer-than-expected commutes for riders. Some said that overcrowded trains were forced to bypass stations because they couldn't pack in any more people -- leading the stations to become overcrowded as well.

"No room to board any trains at EFC," John Cook (‏@CookJohnC) tweeted shortly before 8:40 a.m.

"West Falls Church station cannot hold any more people, can only imagine what it's like in Arlington," wrote Yasir Jawad ‏(@YasirJawad).

Metro officials said riders would expect delays in both directions throughout the morning rush hour.

Most riders should expect their morning commutes to take an additional 15 minutes, Metro said early Tuesday, although John Tyson ‏(@CapsaicinJT) said on Twitter that Metro's estimate was too low. "...[G]ood one," he wrote. "Try an hour."

Illysa Schrager ‏(@illyfaschilly) tweeted that Tuesday morning's commute was the most crowded she's experienced.

"[I've] been riding the Metro daily for 5+ [years] & never seen this many [people] on each station's platforms, and that says a lot," she wrote.

News4's Tony Tull said the West Falls Church platform had cleared sometime before 9:20 a.m.

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