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Local Metro riders react to crash

June 22, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

At least six dead as Metro trains collide

TRI-STATE -- If she hadn't been spending the week in South Carolina, Ros Burns of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., would have taken the MARC train to work in Gaithersburg, Md., on Monday.

Burns, 54, works at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Some days, she said she is called in to work in Washington, D.C., and uses Metro's red line.

Burns, reached by telephone in South Carolina, said she learned of Monday's deadly Metro crash involving two trains on the red line while watching the 7 p.m. news.

"I don't think I would have been on the red line, although, then again ... it just depends on the work schedule," Burns said. "If they were meeting downtown at the Department of Commerce, I very well could have been in it."

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Lauren Hunley, 24, of Martinsburg, W.Va., takes the MARC train and Metro's red line daily to her job at Heritage Preservation in Washington, D.C.

Hunley left work Monday at 4:30 p.m. just in time to catch the 4:55 p.m. MARC train.

Hunley, who has worked in D.C. for about a year, said the accident occurred away from downtown, and she would not have been affected by the crash directly.

"But the delays would have affected everything," she said.

Hunley, a 2003 Martinsburg High School graduate, said her train was not delayed, and she was home by 6:40 p.m.

Some days, when she is delayed at work or misses her usual train, Hunley takes the 5:35 p.m. train, the first to be halted by Monday's crash.

Officials were asking passengers to avoid the red line Monday night and Tuesday morning, and Hunley said late Monday she had decided to change her route.

About 9:30 p.m., Hunley said she was still planning to take the MARC train this morning, but instead of taking the red line, she would take a bus to work. However, Hunley gets on the MARC train at the Duffields station in Jefferson County, W.Va., and she learned about 10:20 p.m. that service to that station and all others along the Brunswick line would be suspended today.

Hunley said her typical backup plan would be to drive to the Shady Grove station in Montgomery County, Md., but that station is on the red line.

Hunley said she was still considering other options, but it was likely she would work from home today.

Hunley said Metro malfunctions and breakdowns are common, but she has never been involved in an incident similar to Monday's crash. She said the incident likely would not stop her from riding the Metro, though she does prefer the bus on days she can spare the time.

"I think it's very unfortunate, and a very sad thing to occur," she said of Monday's crash. "Those kinds of accidents don't happen very often."

Burns has ridden the MARC train since 1985 and commuted on Metro since 1982.

"So, I know the Metro line quite well and have used it very often," she said. "This is truly a tragic event."

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