The entire Washington, D.C. Metro system will be shut down for 29 hours to allow for an emergency inspection after a cable caught fire, transportation officials say, marking the system’s first closure for non-weather reasons.
The unprecedented emergency inspection will start at midnight ET on Wednesday and is expected to last until at least 5 a.m. ET on Thursday. About 600 “jumper cables” along all tunnel segments of the system will be inspected.
“At the conclusion of the inspection process, there may be a need for additional rail service outages. Any further service impacts will be announced to the public as soon as they are known,” the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said in a statement.
The decision by Metro chief executive Paul Wiedefeld was made with the full support of the Authority’s Board of Directors and follows an incident on Monday morning in which a cable fire caused delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.
Authorities say they want to prevent an incident such as the one in January 2015, when 1 person died and more than 80 others were injured after thick smoke filled a tunnel on the D.C. Metro.
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