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Green Line train derails near West Hyattsville

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Photo - (Examiner file photo)
(Examiner file photo)
Local,Transportation,Kytja Weir

Update 7:20 p.m. Only one person out of the 56 people evacuated from Friday's derailment was transported to a local hospital for possible medical problems -- a pregnant woman accompanied by her family -- Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor told The Washington Examiner.

He said 95 emergency responders worked on the derailment, with about two dozen of them underground.

He said the evacuation of riders went smoothly, with firefighters escorting riders about 100 feet through the train tunnel to an emergency exit in a ventilation shaft. He said some riders needed to be assisted in the tunnel by riding in emergency exit carts. He said he had heard of no problems within the emergency exit, though, or in getting out riders.

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Update 6:58 p.m.

At least one person was taken to the hospital following the derailment, a pregnant woman who was being checked as a precautionary measure, according to Metro.

The train service remained disrupted with free shuttle buses connecting riders between Fort Totten and Prince George's Plaza. Complicating matters, though, the Washington Nationals have a 7:05 p.m. home game against the Colorado Rockies, which many fans access via the Green Line.

It was unclear when service would be restored. Metro spokesman Philip Stewart said it would last at least through Friday night -- and possibly into the weekend.

But Metro had gone ahead and canceled all plans for weekend track work systemwide to give crews time to address damage to the West Hyattsville area track, he said.

It also ordered all trains to travel at no more than 35 mph in above-ground sections of track due to the extreme heat. That in turns, was likely to cause delays throughout the system.

It was not yet clear what caused the derailment of the three rear cars of the train, but Stewart said officials would certainly be looking into whether the heat was a factor.

It did not initially appear that officials had problems with the emergency exit shaft when they evacuated riders. But The Washington Examiner had reported on problems with the agency's emergency exits last month. At the West Hyattsville station, inspection reports from 2010 and 2009 showed repeatedly that lighting was out and emergency exit doors were broken at the stations' two emergency exits. After the story ran, the agency checked out remaining problems and pledged to have them fixed by the end of this month.

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Update 5:55 p.m.

Prince George's County first responders said about 55 people were evacuated from the derailed train through an emergency exit tunnel.

Meanwhile, all service remains stopped between the Fort Totten and Prince George's Plaza stations. Elsewhere, all trains have been slowed to no more than 35 mph in above-ground sections of track due to the heat. That in turn, translates to delays.

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Update 5:30 p.m. Metro now says that Green Line service between Fort Totten and Prince George's Plaza has been suspended due to a derailment about 1,000 feet outside the West Hyattsville station.

The agency has requested shuttle buses to ferry riders.

The incident happened about 4:45 p.m. when an inbound train derailed just after leaving the station, Metro spokesman Philip Stewart said. No one was reported hurt. It was unclear how many riders were on board at the time.

Derailments are unusual but not unheard of on the system. One occurred on April 24 when a full Blue Line train derailed outside of Rosslyn, causing a meltdown during the evening commute. The transit agency later said that a worker who had fixed a switch there shortly before one set of wheels came off the track had failed to check his work.

No one was injured in the April incident.

That was the first since a train derailed in February 2010 outside Farragut North, causing minor injuries to three riders.

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Original post: A Metro train has derailed on the Green Line, with three cars coming off the track, according to Prince George's Fire officials.

No one was reported injured, though.

The incident happened around 4:45 p.m. near the West Hyattsville station, according to Metro. Metro transit police were on route.

Stay tuned for additional details

kweir@washingtonexaminer.com

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