updated 1/31/2007 7:34:28 PM ET 2007-02-01T00:34:28

Hundreds of commuters who use the Washington area’s transit system endured delays Wednesday morning because of a slow investigation of suspicious items found near a Metrorail station just outside the nation’s capital.

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About 3 a.m., a Metro employee spotted two suitcases and a backpack near the bus waiting area of the Braddock Road station in Alexandria. But the items sat there for at least two hours because the city’s police do not have a bomb squad and “apparently, they couldn’t get a hold of anybody from Metro (police) until after 5 a.m.,” Alexandria police Lt. James Bartlett said.

The station was closed when the luggage was discovered and did not reopen until about 7:30 a.m.

Metro provided shuttle bus service to two neighboring stations, spokeswoman Cathy Asato said. She said the delay in locating Metro transit police “is something that we will look into.”

By 7 a.m., Metro’s bomb squad arrived and determined the packages were simply abandoned property.

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