Wireless Notes -- Washington DC Metro Problems List of Washington DC Metro Rail Station Problems

An Updated List of Washington DC Metro Rail Stations Which Exhibit Mechanical or Other Difficulties, Infrastructural Issues, and otherwise Poor Conditions


Last Update: 04/30/2013

This list is intended to provide a consolidated reference to a series of posts, messages, and other observations as to mechanical failures and other defects observed at Washington DC Metro Rail stations.


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    General:

    For being situated in one of the wealthiest and most highly trafficked areas in the entire country, Washington DC Metro stations tend to suffer a disproportionate amount of mechanical, electrical and other types of failures.

    For example, it is common not only for escalators at a given station to malfunction but for the breakdown to go untreated for hours at a time. Commuters are then forced to walk on the escalator for long distances.

    On other occasions, the station's air conditioning system may malfunction. On such occasions, rather than fixing the system, station personnel frequently place large fans on the platform in a crude attempt to compensate for the lack of circulating cool air when common sense suggests they would likely spend less time alerting repair technicians of the problem and promulgating a real solution.

    Cited below are occasions when these and other types of mechanical or electrical failures occur. Where possible, they are substantiated with photographs to demonstrate the failure.


    Ordering Note: The following list is organized alphabetically: first by line and then by the given stations on that line.

    Please feel free to submit your experiences with Washington DC's Metro system which are of a specific nature relevant to this list, so that we may provide a more comprehensive and complete listing of similar problems. Contact information for this list isprovided at the end of this page.

    Additionally, if you feel that an item is incorrect, please let us know the specifics of your experiences in the given station and/or with the given issue so we can verify and, if needed, update the list accordingly.


    Disclaimer/Note: The authors have no relationship with Washington DC Metro Rail other than as customers. Although it is uncertain how the staff of each given train station can permit such flagrantly poor conditions to exist, the primary objective of this list is to document problems that occur and encourage these matters to be corrected via this public forum.


    Mechanical Failures by Rail Line

  • Blue Line, Pentagon City: The air conditioner appears to be malfunctioning. Very little air comes out of the vents and what little does is not very cool. Last observed on 07/08/2010, last reported to Dave from DC Metro on 07/09/2010, apparently fixedas of 07/15/2010 but again observed on 08/24/2011.

    08/24/2011- Vent
at WMATA/DC Metro Pentagon City station. Very little cool air emanated
from this vent. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org. 08/24/2011-
Different angle of vent at WMATA/DC Metro Pentagon City station. Very
little cool air emanated from this vent. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org.

  • Yellow/(Green) Line, Gallery Place: The air conditioning on the upper (Red Line) level appears to be low but operates at a passable level. It exhibits a poor fan speed and overall was not very cool, but appears to work minimally. However, the air conditioner on the lower Green/Yellow level does not seem to work at all and no air discernible amount of air appears to come from the vents. Last observed on 08/25/2010. As of late 2012, it appears that extensive work is being done on the station; hopefully, by the summer of 2013, the air conditioning issues will be resolved.

    08/25/2011-
Vent at WMATA/DC Metro Gallery Place station upper level/Red line, air
condtioning worked slightly better herethan at the lower level. As of late
2012, it appears that extensive work is being done on the station;
hopefully, by the summer of 2013, the air conditioning issues will be
resolved. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org.

  • Orange Line, Courthouse: Although the air conditioning system appears to be minimally functional, the fan speed is so weak that unless one stands directly by a pillar or vent, it is imperceptible. Instead, staff at the station had simply set up fans for air circulation! (As is common place at a number of other stations as well) Most recently observed on 08/24/2011.

    08/24/2011-
Pylon with air conditioning vent on top at WMATA/DC Metro Courthouse
station on the Orange Line. Very little cool air circulated from this
vent. For further details, please visit www.wirelessnotes.org. 08/24/2011- Fan
positioned next to pylon with air conditioning vent on top at WMATA/DC
Metro Courthouse station on the Orange Line. Very little cool air
circulated from this vent so employees position fan beside pylon to
circulate what little cool air came out. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org.

  • Orange Line, Courthouse: An out of service escalator left the only remaining functional escalator carrying passengers down rather than up. This was in full view of the station attendant, who apparently could not be bothered to investigate this, reverse the direction of the functioning escalator or do much of anything else. Most recently observed on 09/19/2012, reported to Jeannie on 09/21/2012.

    09/19/2012- Out of
service escalator at WMATA/DC Metro's Courthouse station. The only
functioning escalator took passengers down rather than up. For further
details, please visit www.wirelessnotes.org.
    Observed on 09/19/2012.

  • Red Line, DuPont Circle: On 08/03/2011, only one functioning overhead light was in operation above the 200+ foot escalator located at the north entrance, which effectively cast the area in near total darkness. Most recently observed on 08/03/2011 and was reported to James from Washington DC Metro on 08/04/2011 and within a few days, the issue appears to have been resolved.

    The air conditioning system at DuPont Circle appears to be inoperative; although the vents do seem to circulate air with a sufficient degree of force, the air conditioning system does not appear to be cooling the air, and instead simply either recycles the station's own air or blows in warm air from the surface but has no cooling effect whatsoever. This issue was also reported to James from Metro on 08/04/2011.

    08/04/2011-
WMATA/DC Metro, darkness at DuPont Circle station due to only one overhead
light being in working order. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org.

    Additionally, on 08/03/2011, two escalators were out of service at the north entrance, leaving only one escalator in service, yet that escalator was set to operate only in the down position, leaving existing passengers with no choice to make a 200+ ft. climb. This had been going on for approximately two hours without any intervention from staff at the DuPont Circle station, which happens to be one of DC Metro's busiest stations, yet no one had the presence of mind to reverse the one functioning escalator so that it would operate in an upward direction. Also reported to John from DC Metro on 08/04/2011. As of November 2012, there has been much repair work done which has corrected this issue.

    05/05/2011- WMATA/DC Metro, malfunctioning escalator at DuPont Circle
station's North entrance. Sole functioning escalator took passengers
downward, forcing passengers going upstairs to walk up 200+ feet of
stairs. For further details, please visit www.wirelessnotes.org. 05/05/2011-
WMATA/DC Metro, malfunctioning escalator at DuPont Circle station's north
entrance. Sole functioning escalator took passengers downward, forcing
passengers going upstairs to walk up 200+ feet of stairs. For further
details, please visit www.wirelessnotes.org.
    08/04/2011

    At the southbound Dupont entrance (below), the two down escalators continue to not function, which has been the case for the past few weeks.

    08/24/2011- WMATA/DC
Metro, out of service escalators at DuPont Circle station's southbound
entrance. As of November 2012, there has been much repair work done which
has corrected this issue. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org.
    08/24/2011


  • Red Line, Van Ness/UDC (below): While work is going on on the escalator to the left (which is sealed off), the up escalator (to the right) is not working, while the center/down one is. Couldn't someone be bothered to switch the center escalator from "down" to "up" so passengers don't have a stroke just getting to the top? It's a lot easier to walk down those 150 stairs than up! Most recently observed on 08/25/2011.

    01/03/2017- WMATA/DC Van Ness/UDC escalator heading up is out of
service, causing passengers to walk up a very long way. The down escalator
is working fine...couldn't someone have bothered to switch the two?? For
further details, please visit www.wirelessnotes.org.
    01/03/2017 - Is there a cardiologist in the station??! Van Ness/UDC UP escalator broken but DOWN still running - it's a long climb up!


  • Red Line, Tenleytown: An out of service escalator left the only remaining functional escalator carrying passengers down rather than up. The escalator pictured below with the red light (right photo, left escalator) is the downward travelling escalator while the escalator to the right of it was not functioning, forcing passengers to walk up to the street level. Most recently observed on 09/19/2012, reported to Mike from Washington DC Metro on 04/18/2011 and to Jeannie on 09/21/2012.

    04/14/2011- Out
service escalator at WMATA/DC Metro Tenleytown station. Sole functioning
escalator took passengers downward, forcing passengers going upstairs to
walk up 200+ feet of stairs. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org. 04/14/2011- Out of
service escalator at WMATA/DC Metro Tenleytown station. Sole functioning
escalator took passengers downward, forcing passengers going upstairs to
walk up 200+ feet of stairs. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org.
    Observed on 04/14/2011

    09/19/2012- Out of
service escalator at WMATA/DC Metro Tenleytown station. Sole functioning
escalator took passengers downward, forcing passengers going upstairs to
walk up 200+ feet of stairs. For further details, please visit
www.wirelessnotes.org.
    Observed on 09/19/2012

  • Corrected Items

  • Orange Line, Clarendon: The air conditioner at the station appeared to be malfunctioning in that the system appears to blow air but is not cooling the air. This is consistent with, but not necessarily evidence of, a faulty compressor. Most recently observed on 08/07/2008, reported to John from Washington DC Metro on 08/08/2008, appears to have been corrected as of 08/14/2008.

  • Red Line, Farragut North: Air conditioner malfunctions were in evidence at the station. Last observed on 08/30/2009, last reported to Brenda from DC Metro on 08/31/2009, apparently fixed as of 09/06/2009.

  • Red Line, Tenleytown: Schedule signs only displayed elevator outages rather than train schedules due to sheer volume of malfunctioning elevators. Last observed on 02/10/2011, last reported to Chris DC Metro on 02/11/2011, apparently fixed as of 02/16/2011.

  • Red Line, Union Station: Air conditioner malfunctions were in evidence at the station. Last observed on 07/24/2008, last reported to Becky from DC Metro on 07/25/2008, apparently fixed as of 07/30/2008.

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    Last modified and : 04/30/2013