Just As I Thought

Doors Opening

Yet another story about the bizarre world of our subway, Metro:

A Metro train operator abandoned her train in a station during the evening rush hour Monday, hopping aboard a train going in the opposite direction and leaving behind hundreds of bewildered homebound commuters, according to passengers and transit officials.

The six-car Red Line train, headed for Shady Grove, pulled into the Van Ness-UDC Station at 7:16 p.m. and sat idling for 12 minutes with the door to the conductor’s compartment yawning open, according to the accounts.

Although a substitute operator was found ultimately and the train sent on its way, the incident, which occurred on an evening of heightened security concerns, was something that “should never happen,” a Metro spokeswoman said last night.

And how did they solve the problem? Get this:

Metro eventually got the idling train on its way through a series of maneuvers that appeared to combine aspects of chess and vaudeville.

The former operator of the idled train was told to take control of the Glenmont-bound train she had just boarded — Train 202. The regular operator of Train 202 was told to get off that train at the Woodley Park station, cross the platform and board a third train, 104, which was headed to Shady Grove.

Train 104 then was instructed to enter the Van Ness Station — slowly — and creep up close behind the idling Train 107.

Once Train 104 had nuzzled up to Train 107, the second operator on train 104 got off and ran to the cab of waiting Train 107 to take it on its way, Farbstein said.

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