See you on the Other Side: Metro Derailment Occurs in Tunnel Near Arlington Cemetery


Photo via Mayra Rivera

Heidi Gilman, Staff Writer

Public transportation such as the Metro is convenient and fast, but, like everything in life, it can come at a price. On October 12th at 5:00 PM, a train car derailed in a tunnel near The Arlington National Cemetery. After two stressful hours, the first few 300-400 people began to emerge. The story behind this event is even more perplexing. 

A train manufactured by Kawasaki derailed, and it was close to a catastrophe. The train was arcing, which is a serious threat for fires. A passenger on board the train stated, ”There was a fair amount of smoke on board,” according to the Washington Post. Luckily, no one was killed or injured physically, although one person went to the hospital due to anxiety issues after the incident. 

The cause of the derailment, according to officials, was that an axle on the affected train was out of compliance, and the same train had derailed twice earlier that day. Upon further investigation, WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), discovered that all the series 7000 trains have the same deformity. To resolve this, they removed all the series 7000 (about 60% of their fleet) trains from the tracks. This is leading to widespread delays for commuters on a daily basis. 

According to a Metro Performance Report, five derailments occurred in 2020 which is a significant improvement from the 11 in 2018. Unfortunately, this year, there have already been 18 failures . 

The bipartisan infrastructure bill fighting its way through our government will consist of new funds for public transportation. These funds will greatly reduce serious incidents such as derailments related to public transport. In the meantime while traveling on the metro, make sure to arrive earlier than normal to avoid major delays in one’s schedule.