City Desk

Train With 345 Passengers Derails at Farragut North; Three “Very Minor” Injuries

Metro has reported the derailment of a six-car Red Line train at the Farragut North station.

Metro's statement in full:

A six-car Red Line train headed in the direction of Shady Grove Metrorail station has reportedly derailed near the Farragut North Metrorail station. There are no reported injuries.

Metro officials and local first responders are at the scene to investigate and to safely get customers off of the train and to the station.

The preliminary report is that the front wheels of lead car is the one that came off the tracks. The incident took place at 10:13 a.m.

More to come.

UPDATE: Connecticut Avenue is closed from K Street to L Street NW. K Street NW is closed from 16th Street to 18th Street NW. From AlertDC: "Area is logjammed – please avoid."

The Washington Post is quoting Lisa Farbstein, Metro spokeswoman, from Channel 4 news:

Metro confirmed that the front wheels of the first car of a Red line train derailed at 10:13 a.m. as it was approaching the Farragut North Metro station.

"Fortunately our reports are that there have been no injuries," Metro spokeswoman Lisa Faberstein. "The front wheels of the front car came off the tracks. We do not know how it happened."

Faberstein said the six-car train was likely filled with passengers, given the late start of the workday for federal workers after the region was hit by a blizzard on Wednesday. She said Metro was evacuating passengers after they cut electricity to the line and that they would be escorted by walking on the tracks to the station platform.

"It's early for us to know what exactly happened," she told the television station.

The NBC4 Web site says that passengers are walking some 150 to 200 yards through the tunnel, and along the tracks, to safety. D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said several hundred people were on board the train when it derailed.

WTOP reports "it doesn't appear to be a major derailment."

Shuttle service is being set up between the Dupont Circle and Gallery Place stations.

An 11: 33 a.m. update from the Post says that rescue workers are attempting to shut down power and move other trains out of the way to access the passengers who are still on the train. Said Piringer: "Once we shut the power down, we'll ... fully assess the situation."

11:48 a.m.: City Paper's Erik Wemple reports from the scene that Piringer said the train car that derailed has been decoupled, and passengers are being relocated from the two cars directly affected by the derailment to the four other unaffected cars, where they're being evaluated. There are no serious injuries, if there are any injuries at all, Piringer said.

Affected passengers will likely be emerging from the Farragut North station, according to Piringer. One woman wearing a yellow jacket and a black shoulder bag was seen being escorted from the station by a firefighter.

News Channel 8 is quoting a passenger on the train, Dana Mozie, who said that "about 20 seconds after we departed [Farragut North], there was a sudden sudden stop that made you pay attention. It wasn't a slow down, it was a stop. The [Metro operator] came on non-chalantly and announced, 'We have derailed.' She kept coming back on and apologizing."

Mozie said there was a "burnt smell" on the train and that it was packed "to capacity."

12:03 p.m.: From D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Dennis Rubin: There were 345 passengers on board the train, and three "very minor injuries" have been reported. Metro is beginning single-tracking. Expect delays.

Two of the injured declined to be treated, Rubin said, and one was taken to George Washington University Hospital.

From AlertDC: "The METRO train derailed from a pocket track (side track) near Farragut North. All customers were moved to the rear four cars of the train. Those four cars then were separated from the front two cars to allow the four car train to move to the platform to unload the passengers. Preliminary report is that the front wheels of the lead car came off the tracks. Passengers can expect major delays on the Red Line until the situation is resolved. Shuttle buses will help move people between the Dupont and Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail stations along the Red Line."

12:45 p.m.: Metro says Farragut North reopened, as of 12:11 p.m.

From AlertDC: "Trains will be restricted to a speed of 25 mph between Dupont Circle and Farragut North Metrorail stations while Metro officials investigate the incident."

Read one passenger's account, as told to City Desk, here.

1:06 p.m.: All streets in the vicinity of Farragut North have reopened.

3:30 p.m.: The Post is reporting that the train derailed "after a safety device automatically engaged and stopped it because it had crossed from its own track and was headed to the opposite track, into the path of oncoming trains, according to Metro sources familiar with events."

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