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Rain causes Dupont Circle Metro shutdown

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Local,Transportation,Kytja Weir

Some soggy commuters on the Red Line had an even soggier commute Tuesday morning when the rain caused Dupont Circle to shut down for more than 30 minutes.

The issue was that at least two of the escalators broke down due to what appeared to be "water infiltration" caused by the morning rain, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

"Water is no friend to electrical equipment," he said.

Metro closed the entrance at 9:01 a.m. so that riders could exit but not enter the popular station. Then minutes later the entire station closed down, with all trains bypassing the station until about 9:37 a.m.

Normally, such an outage would not cause the whole station to shut down, Stessel said. But because the station's other entrance is closed for escalator replacements, the agency must close the whole station due to safety concerns about crowding.

But that meant that Farragut North became very crowded as many riders who would have gotten off at Dupont Circle exited at the already crowded Farragut instead.

Stessel said the agency does not actively monitor Farragut North for crowding, as it does with Dupont during the construction, other than through the station manager. But he noted the station has three sets of escalators to the street.

The good news is that the escalator replacement work at Dupont Circle is nearing the end, which means that such a rain failure would not cause a station closure. Stessel said the work is on schedule to finish this month.

After the entrance reopens, the agency will modernize the two older units on the side that failed Tuesday. That entrance, the north entrance, will not close for the work as the escalators are repaired one by one. But there are no plans to add a canopy over that entrance, which could protect it from future rain failures.

kweir@washingtonexaminer.com

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