Track defect found overnight disrupts morning Orange, Silver, and Blue line train service

At about 4:00 AM EDT on Thursday, November 2, 2017, a track defect was reported on the elevated inbound track of the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines enroute to Stadium-Armory station. The defect was severe enough to require immediate removal of the track from service.

Trains single-tracked between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly Blvd/Addison Rd stations until just after 6 AM, delaying passengers traveling during rush hour.

The “level black” track defect was found in the elevated “D&G” area, where the Orange line diverges from the Silver/Blue lines. Track inspectors measured over 140 inches between effective track fasteners at D2 279+50 in the D&G “pocket track”, which meant that there was a higher than acceptable risk of a possible derailment or other incident. Fasteners are the parts of the track which hold the two parallel rails in place.

The level back defect was reported around 4 AM during a track inspection. The late nature of this report meant that morning rail service in the area was affected while repairs were being made. Silver line trains were cut back to running only between Wiehle-Reston and Ballston stations until 6 AM, and Orange and Blue lines were single-tracked and saw delays up to around 12 minutes.

This section of track was previously inspected on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 between 10:05 AM and 11:20 AM. No TRST-1000 Revision 6 color-coded speed restriction was implemented at the time.

The D&G area of track is within the location of the SafeTrack Surge 2 area, which stretched from Eastern Market to Minnesota Ave/Benning Rd stations. The 16-day surge shut down both tracks to allow for switch replacement and other trackwork, including the replacement of 2,116 fasteners. However, we cannot definitively say at this time if the defective fasteners identified Thursday morning were new as of the SafeTrack program.

A separate level black defect was identified overnight on the outbound track in approach to Rosslyn station, but was resolved before revenue service began at 5 AM Thursday morning.


Rail Transit OPS Group is an independent, publicly-funded organization that monitors rail transit operations, performance, and safety procedures to proactively address potential issues. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.