Rail

'Electrical arcing' caused Metro car to stop, fill tunnel with smoke

Posted on January 14, 2015

A typical rush hour scene at L'Enfant Plaza. WMATA photo by Larry Levine
A typical rush hour scene at L'Enfant Plaza. WMATA photo by Larry Levine

WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials believe "an electrical arcing event" caused a Metro train to abruptly stop and fill a tunnel with smoke on Monday. One woman was killed and more than 80 passengers were suffering from respiratory problems and other health issues after the incident, The Washington Post reported.

The train, which had just left the L’Enfant Plaza station, came to a halt about 800 feet into the tunnel. The NTSB said the arcing, which is is often connected with short circuits and may generate smoke, involved cables that power the third rail. Arcing. There did not appear to have been a fire, the report said.

According to officials, firefighters did not immediately enter the tunnel to help the riders because they were not sure whether the subway’s electrified third rail had been deactivated, according to The Washington Post.

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