Two Metrorail cars separated on a train that had just left the Glenmont station Tuesday afternoon, prompting the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to remove select train cars from service temporarily while the cause is investigated.
The railcars separated on a Shady Grove-bound Red Line train around 1:04 p.m. on Tuesday in an area just south of the station, according to a press release from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission – an agency independent of WMATA that oversees and enforces safety on the rail system.
Montgomery County Fire & Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said in a video posted to Twitter Tuesday that 12 passengers were on board and were evacuated. One was taken to the hospital for a medical condition not considered life-threatening, he said.
Piringer said in the video that the train was less than 100 yards from the Glenmont station when the cars separated.
Train service was temporarily suspended on Tuesday between Glenmont and Forest Glen, but had been restored by the evening, according to WMATA’s website.
The eight-car train consisted of cars from Metro’s 6000 Series, according to a statement from WMATA. The transit agency wrote in the statement that Chief Safety Officer Theresa Impastato recommended removing all cars from the 6000 Series, and the decision was approved by General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld.
“The 6K suspension will remain in effect until investigators fully understand the underlying causes and contributing factors involved,” WMATA said in its statement.
The statement went on to say that the decision to remove 6000 Series cars was due in part to the fact Tuesday’s incident is similar to another one that occurred on the Red Line last month outside Union Station in D.C.
“While the investigation into the October incident remains ongoing, the point of separation occurred at the train’s coupler, effectively a large latch at the end of each railcar that securely connects it to adjoining cars,” WMATA said in the statement.
The 6000 Series consists of 184 cars first used starting in 2006, according to the press release from WMATA. Train cars typically are overhauled after 20 years, it stated.
The safety commission wrote in its press release that it supports WMATA’s decision to temporarily remove the rail cars from service until investigators determine what caused the uncoupling.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org