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Metro Derailment in West Hyattsville

A Metro train has derailed in West Hyattsville, WMATA reports, but there were no injuries.

Update, 8 p.m.: It took rescuers nearly an hour to safely remove all of the passengers on a Metro train that derailed Friday afternoon near the West Hyattsville Metro station.

The train was traveling toward DC after departing from Prince George's Plaza Metro Station, when the last three cars derailed, leaving 55 passengers in harms way around 4:45 p.m.

A total of 95 fire and rescue crew members responded to the accident, Prince George's Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said, with the first responders arriving within five minutes of it being reported. Two dozen firefighters entered the tunnel to execute the rescue, Bashoor added.

It took 10 minutes for the firefighters to reach the train, which had come to rest in the tunnel running underneath Ager Road, officials reported. Almost 45 minutes later, firefighters led the all the passengers above ground via a fanshaft on the property of the Kirkwood Apartments.

No passengers self evacuated in the tunnel, according to both fire and rescue officials and a WMATA spokesperson,  when a train lost power on the tracks.

"The potential for people to get lost or into a point of danger is huge," said Bashoor during a press conference.

Within the tunnel, passengers on the hobbled train had to endure high temperatures as they awaited rescue. The temperatures were also a danger to safety-gear-clad rescue crews, who risked over-heating in the tunnel as the performed their rescue.

According to a PGPD spokesperson, who took to Twitter Friday evening to update the media, no one was reported injured, however one pregnant woman in her 20s was transported to a hospital in good condition to be check out.

Prince George's County Councilman Will Campos (Dist. 2) and Scott Peterson, a spokesman with County Executive Rushern L. Baker III's office came out to the incident.

The Green Line remains suspended between Fort Totten and Prince George's Plaza, as of 8 p.m. Friday. Major delays were reported along the lines, but WMATA was providing shuttle busses for commuters.

According to Metro Spokesperson Caroline Lukas, the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the incident. 

"They'll certainly be brought up to speed on what happened here today, we will definitely include them in our investigation and let them know," said Lukas in an interview. "If they feel it's necessary to conduct their own investigation, we welcome them to do so."

Original Post: 5:40 p.m.: A Metro train derailed in West Hyattsville around 4:45 p.m., according to WMATA.

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According to WMATA, the last three train cars came off the tracks in between the Prince George's Plaza and West Hyattsville stations.

Prince George's County fire spokesman Mark Brady reported that by 5:45 p.m. all 55 passengers were removed from the train cars via an underground hatch at the Kirkwood Apartments at 29th Avenue and Ager Road. Although no injuries were reported, one pregnant woman in her 20s was transported to a local hospital in good condition for a check up, Brady tweeted.

The ambulance has left the scene and Prince George's County Fire Department will be handing over the investigation to WMATA.

According to The Washington Post, a Metro spokesman said the cause of the derailment was unknown at this time.

“It’s certainly something we’re going to have to look at,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said according to the Post. “It’s too soon to know.”

There is no Green Line service between Fort Totten and Prince George's Plaza. The Green and Yellow Lines are also delayed and single-tracking at some stations. Also, WMATA said all trains above ground are being slowed to 35 MPH due to heat-related speed restrictions.

Shuttle buses are available to Metro passengers in Prince George's County.

All weekend track work has been cancelled, WMATA posted on its website.

This post was updated to report the number of passengers and WMATA updates on train speeds.

Michael Thompson July 06, 2012 at 09:59 PM
The greenline is a mess tonight .
Michael Thompson July 06, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Alternates for Greenbelters include (but are not limited to): MARC's Camden Line from Union Station to Greenbelt station. Metrobus C2 from Wheaton to Greenbelt station. Metrobus G12 from New Carrollton to Greenbelt station (via Old Greenbelt) Metrobus G14/G16 from New Carrollton to Greenbelt station (via Old Greenbelt) Metrobus R12 from Deanwood to College Park to Greenbelt station (via Greenbelt West/Beltway Plaza) TheBus 16 from New Carrollton to Greenbelt station (via Greenway Shopping Center & Berwyn Heights) Other options that might be helpful include: Metrobus F4 from Silver Spring to Prince George's Plaza to New Carrollton Metrobus F6 from Fort Totten to Prince George's Plaza to College Park to New Carrollton
Joe July 06, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Just drove to Fort Totten from College Park to collect my wife. I got to see part of the District I've never seen before! Worst Friday commute ever, but then in four years of commuting via Metro at least this is the first time she's never made it all the way on trains.
Terrie July 07, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Iam not sure why people still take the Metro from Greenbelt when the MARC train is cheaper, faster and safer
Matthew Halloran July 08, 2012 at 06:42 AM
Perhaps because metro runs throughout the day and, even during marc service periods, the frequency of metro trains is much greater. Metro stops at many more places. Hard to imagine, but maybe some people don't work in the Union Station business district and prefer to hop on the metro in other parts of DC and stick to one unreliable public transport system in making their way back to civilization (aka greenbelt). Also, poor saps that work in wastelands like Chinatown, Downtown, K Street, etc. have to pay two rush hour Metro fares to get from Union to near-work and vice versa, which can often render the "cheaper"ness of the MARC train option illusory. Different strokes, there's no accounting for taste, etc.

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