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  • DC Metro Can’t Stop Stations From Catching On Fire, But At Least It’s Getting Cell Service

    During the inevitable next breakdown of Washington, D.C.’s Metro system, riders have something to look forward to: they’ll be able to tweet about it in real time.

    Metro announced Monday that it reached an agreement with a handful of cellular carriers that will allow train riders to use their cell phones while riding through train tunnels, The Washington Post reports.

    The plan would allow riders using Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to use their cell phones throughout the entirety of the 100-mile subway system.(RELATED: Shocking New Details Emerge In DC Metro Smoke Incident That Left A Woman Dead)

    In 2008, Metro signed a similar contract with the cellular carriers, requiring the companies to wire the tunnels themselves, but the contract was never fulfilled after a fatal train crash and several other infrastructure problems put cell service on the back burner.

    In the new agreement, though, according to the Post, the carriers will pay Metro tens of millions of dollars to do the tunnel wiring itself. The companies would provide the equipment needed to lay the wires, and work will start in January.

    Work on the project is scheduled to be completed by 2020, though passengers wouldn’t need to wait that long to reap the rewards of the new cell service.

    The cables would go live as soon as they are laid, so some sections of the line will have cell service faster than others.

    News of the new cellular service in tunnels dropped on a particularly disastrous day for Metro. A fire in a station power facility forced the agency to shut down operations on half its train lines.

    The fire burned for hours at Stadium-Armory Metro station and trains couldn’t run between its two surrounding stations until around 5 p.m. Service interruptions started early Monday morning and didn’t let up until well after evening rush hour.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation and no one was hurt during the incident.

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