Commuters across the Washington D.C. area were bracing for potential gridlock and arduous commutes Wednesday after officials announced that the region’s entire Metro subway system would shut down for a full day after a fire in one of the rail line’s tunnels.
The system shutdown, which some social media wags quickly dubbed “Metromageddon” and “Metropocalypse”, was necessary to accommodate an emergency inspection of its third rail power cables, General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld told reporters Tuesday.
“While the risk to the public is very low, I cannot rule out a potential life safety issue here, and that is why we must take this action immediately,” Wiedefeld said.
Metro is the nation’s second-busiest transit network, serving more than 700,000 riders daily, and a vital link for federal workers and other commuters to Washington from Maryland and Virginia. The system will shut down at midnight Tuesday and remain closed until 5 a.m. Thursday, a total of 29 hours.