Railcar fire shuts down Metro at Silver Spring

Local,Maryland,Transportation,Liz Essley,Metro,Montgomery County,Metro and Traffic

A Metro railcar at Silver Spring caught fire during Tuesday evening's rush hour, snarling Red Line commuters on their way home from work.

Metro said no one was injured. Just before 6 p.m. the train offloaded its passengers one station before, at Takoma, but Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said he did not know why.

Rider Ben Schumin said he was on the train that was offloaded and that he talked to a Metro supervisor, who told him passengers were asked to get off the train because of a report of smoke.

The train proceeded to the Silver Spring station, where a YouTube video showed flames bursting from below a railcar four separate times.

Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham said the railcar's connector shoes, which connect trains to Metro's electrified third rail, caught fire. Graham said such fires are fairly common, and that the flames did not enter the railcar.

Metro spokesmen said they could not confirm the cause of the fire.

The agency suspended service at Silver Spring, sent buses to pick up stranded passengers, and replaced trains with shuttle buses between the Takoma and Forest Glen stations.

Schumin said hundreds of riders were waiting for the shuttles, so he and 10 others decided to walk from Takoma to Silver Spring.

Around 7:30, Metro began single tracking, but trains were bypassing the Silver Spring station.

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