Sub-freezing temperatures caused rush-hour delays on four of Metro’s five lines Wednesday morning, cracking sections of rail along two stretches of track and turning an already cold commute into a frigid marathon for some riders.
Temperatures in the Washington region went from a balmy 60 degrees on Sunday to the 40s on Monday and then dropped to 17 degrees at Reagan National Airport by Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
That caused a shock to the steel rails on Metro’s tracks, said Metro’s chief spokesman, Dan Stessel.
“When you go from mild temperatures [to] a sharp and sudden drop in temperatures, the metal rails contract, and cracks can develop,” he said.
On the Yellow Line, a four-inch gap opened in a rail along the bridge across the Potomac River, Stessel said, and a quarter-inch gap was found in a rail on the Red Line near the Takoma station.