Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

The rainy mess inside our Metro cars

June 20, 2011 - 09:55 AM
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Photo credit: John Hendel

The five-day forecast for Washington D.C. has one element in store for us, commuters: rain. Light, casual storms today, isolated thunder-storms tomorrow, and what describes as "scattered strong storms" on Thursday. Rain, rain, and more rain, soggy and as far as the eye can see.

Any shower means a headache for Metro commuters. Suddenly there's the added obstacles of unwieldy umbrellas and slippery puddles, not to mention the wet passengers who look as grumpy as doused puppies. Today I noticed an even more alarming sign, however, on the Orange Line from L'Enfant Plaza to Rosslyn around 8 a.m., a sight that caused commuters to back away from the end of the train sighing. Big splashes of water kept dripping down onto at least three seats at the back of the car. DC, prepare for your week of rain.

Water escaped out in varying speeds from the ceiling of this Metro car, sometimes in quick gushes, sometimes in the spurts, a couple drops at a time. The leak had clearly been a problem for some time this morning. Both lefthand seats were covered with huge puddles of water, as was the side-facing seat in front of them. Before realizing the problem, I'd watched many people enter the Metro car, consider the open seats, and then quickly move away from that end of the car.

I took a closer look, examining the leaking water as well as grabbing a few photos:


Chocolate strawberries
Photo: John Hendel
Chocolate strawberries
Photo: John Hendel

You can see the dark marks of water on the Metro floor as well as the shine of water drops on the orange plastic seats, if you look carefully. They're not the best photos and don't come close to capturing the real pour of water that sometimes fell from the Metro car's ceiling, but you can get a sense of why commuters would have turned away.

I called Metro and asked if they'd received any other complaints due to the rain, but according to WMATA's information specialist Cathy Asato, no other weather-related complaints have been received to her knowledge. Have any of you run across leaky Metro cars in the rain? If so, Cathy recommends marking down the car number and reporting it to WMATA as soon as possible. In the meantime, stay dry, D.C. commuters!

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