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Update 5 p.m.:

Metro says it has restored normal service on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines as of 4:46 p.m., according to a press release. Stadium-Armory station has also reopened. “The restoration of service follows the successful reconfiguration of power to ‘feed’ electricity to the area of Stadium-Armory from the adjacent substations, located at Potomac Avenue and Deanwood,” the release explains. “The power substation at Stadium-Armory remains offline. Until normal power conditions are restored, trains will operate at lower speeds through the area to reduce power draw.”

Original post:

A fire at a power substation near Metro’s Stadium-Armory station will slow today’s afternoon rush-hour commute, as crews work to restore service on the impacted portion of the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. Metro officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.

While Stadium-Armory remains closed, trains are running “about every 8 minutes” on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines, according to a Metro press release. (See more info below.) Shuttle buses are replacing Orange and Blue line railcars to serve passengers at the Stadium-Armory and Potomac Avenue stations. There have been no reported injuries related to the fire.

Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel explains that the fire broke out in one of three transformers at the substation near RFK Stadium. As at other “substations,” the transformers convert commercial power (in this case, generated by Pepco) from alternating current to direct current, so that Metro can harness it along third rails. Dozens of personnel are reconfiguring adjacent power stations at Deanwood and Potomac Avenue to feed electricity into the affected sections of track. That work will likely take another couple of hours, Stessel says, and may create “some residual effects” on tomorrow’s commute; trains through the downed area will need to reduce their speed.

“The fact that this happened on Monday the 21st matters just as much as if it were to have happened during the pope’s visit,” which begins tomorrow and lasts through Thursday, Stessel says. “We don’t know the cause of this incident just yet, but our focus is on making sure service gets restored and stays up and reliable over time.” (There is no timetable for the investigation.)

Before Pope Francis arrives, some residents may have to get to other big-crowd events first: The Nationals and Capitals play at home tonight, the latter in a pre-season game at Verizon Center. Here’s more information on where trains are (and aren’t) running, via Metro:

Orange Line: Trains are operating between Eastern Market and Vienna and between New Carrollton and Minnesota Avenue. Trains will run about every 8 minutes. Buses are replacing trains between Minnesota Avenue and Eastern Market, making all intermediate station stops.

Silver Line: Trains are operating only between Wiehle-Reston East and East Falls Church. Trains will run about every 8 minutes. Riders traveling outbound to Virginia from DC should use an Orange Line train and transfer at East Falls Church to continue their trip.

Blue Line: Trains are operating between Eastern Market and Franconia-Springfield and between Largo Town Center and Benning Road. Trains will run about every 8 minutes. Buses are replacing trains between Benning Road and Eastern Market, making all intermediate station stops.

Yellow, Green and Red line service is unaffected by this disruption.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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