— Metro (@wmata) March 15, 2016
(Updated at 9:29 a.m. Wednesday) Surprise! Metro closed its rail system to riders for a full 24 hours at midnight. The transit agency announced the news at a press conference yesterday afternoon.
The Metrorail system will closed midnight and will remain closed until 5 a.m. Thursday, according to officials. All six Metrorail lines and all 91 stations will be closed on Wednesday.
More information from a Metro press release:
Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, with support from the Authority’s Board of Directors, today announced the full closure of the Metrorail system on Wednesday, March 16, for emergency inspections of the system’s third-rail power cables following an early morning tunnel fire yesterday.
The inspections of approximately 600 “jumper cables” will occur along all tunnel segments on the Metrorail system. 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.
Despite the closure, D.C. Public Schools remained open.
DCPS will be OPEN tomorrow, March 16. We are working with Metro to add additional bus service. Tardies and absences will be excused.
— DC Public Schools (@dcpublicschools) March 15, 2016
News of the shutdown also appeared to briefly crash the WMATA website yesteday afternoon:
oh my god did the wmata site crash pic.twitter.com/SUgSjbAMVS
— Tim Regan (@MrTimRegan) March 15, 2016
The move comes days after an early morning cable fire caused massive delays on Metro’s Blue and Orange lines.