Metro: Wheaton escalators were not electrified (video)
Updated: September 14, 2010 - 06:16 pm
UPDATE 10:19 a.m.: ABC 7's Courtney Robinson spoke with Metro rider Maury Litwack who stands by the fact that mechanics did tell riders the escalators at Wheaton Metro Station had electrical currents running through them on Monday evening.
In a statement, Metro rider Maury Litwack wrote:
Basically, the passengers were all perplexed at 1) why we were dropped off at a closed station (which I guess they didn't deny) and 2) why we had to get back on the train. We were asking why we couldn't walk up the escalators because Wheaton is frequently shut down and they make us walk so why couldn't we do it this time. When pressed, an engineer told me it isn't a regular situation because the escalators we were just on had power running through them and were dangerous.
UPDATE 8:36 a.m.: A Metro spokesperson tells ABC 7 News the escalators at the Wheaton Metro station were not electrified, as previously reported, and there was no danger to passengers because the power was out. After an extensive interview with the mechanics who worked on the escalators, a Metro spokesperson says the mechanics claim they never told Metro customers that electricity was running through the escalators, which is why they were out of service in the first place. The elevators were also out of service at this time.
The Metro spokesperson says the Wheaton station was closed Monday for several reasons, including:
- It has some of the longest escalators in the system
- Mechanics were trying to fix issues with both, the escalators and the elevators
- The gate at the top of the station was locked, preventing anyone from exiting
According to Metro, Monday's issues were actually a communication breakdown, instead of a power problem. Officials are now trying to determine why passengers were dropped off at the Wheaton stop. Tuesday morning, the Wheaton station is back open, operating normally.
The Wheaton Metro station on the Red Line has reopened following a mechanical problem that knocked all elevators and escalators out of service.
The problem was first reported shortly before 6 p.m., and the station reopened by about 9 p.m.
According to a statement from Metro, the elevators went out of service at the station earlier on Monday, and then at about 5:45 p.m. the escalators broke down.
Metro closed the station and did not allow passengers to walk up and down the non-functioning escalators. But according to passenger Maury Liptack, one train operator didn't get the message.
"The train driver didn't know that the station was closed," Liptack explained, "so we all got on the escalator to go up and they all started shouting at us, saying, 'Get off! Go back on the train.'"
"We were asking them, 'Why? Why can't we just walk up the station?' Liptack recalled. "And they said, 'Well, the escalator we just put you on was electrified.'"
According to Liptack, the 50 or so passengers were told they were walking up an escalator that had power running through it. They were told to get back on the train, then on to the Forest Glen station, where they got on a shuttle bus, to take them back to Wheaton.
"It's the Metro," Liptack lamented. "That's what happens on the Metro."
But riders are getting fed up with Metro's woes. The elevator at the Wheaton station broke down on Saturday, trapping 16 people inside for a half-hour.
One elevator and one escalator remain out of service at Wheaton.
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