The first bad sign was a train sitting on the northbound tracks when I approached the King Street station, and still there when I arrived. The really bad sign was when I heard someone talking on a cell phone and explaining that it had been there for twenty minutes.
When the situation showed no sign of resolving itself anytime soon, I calledstarmalachite to cancel the usual plan to rendezvous for a ride to the Three Left Feet meeting, and shifted to the southbound side of the station to head home. A half hour later, no trains had shown up.
At this point, the first vague tricklings of information started to emerge from the hapless station personnel. (I don't accept "unusual circumstances" as an excuse. Under normal operating conditions, the station personnel produce 310K blackbody radiation and greenhouse gases. It is only when things go wrong that they actually have occasion to do something that justifies paying them money to be there.) From the very occasional announcements that sounded like comprehensible words rather than Charlie Brown's offscreen teacher, I ascertained that no trains would be arriving for a while, and that shuttle services were being set up.
Of course, attempting to learn from the station personnel where to await these shuttles was about as useful as feeding four hundred quarters to a gypsy fortunetelling machine. Eventually, I found a bus that was heading to a station that wasn't my intended destination, but was at least somewhat closer to it.
Arriving there, the station manager, who seemed somewhat more clueful than the one at King Street, said that trains had begun running to Franconia-Springfield. I decided to give it a try, and in about ten minutes one showed up. When I arrived, I had my first real break, when a bus that came within almost a mile of home pulled up. A ride and a walk later, I finally staggered in three and a half hours after leaving the office.
Tomorrow should be even more fun. My bus route deliberately evades the nearby Franconia-Springfield station, so that Metro can justify charging an "express" fare to take me a dozen miles out of my way to a train station where I can pay again to backtrack the detour. (This is based on the Metro business slogan "Suburbanites can afford to subsidize DC if they'll just light a few more stogies with Ulysses instead of Benjamin".) The detour up I-395 should be extra fun over the next week or so, what with all the people driven back to their cars by this fiasco.
End angry rant.