Weekend station closures will become common on Metro
Metro released a complete calendar yesterday for all their major trackwork over the next 12 months. It relies much more heavily on closing stations and connecting them with shuttle buses, rather than single-tracking.
WMATA believes the closures and bus bridges will affect most passengers less than single-tracking and will allow them to get vital work done faster. Many of the closures allow installing new "track circuit modules" that prevent the electronic systems from losing indication of trains, as happened in the Fort Totten crash, or "guarded #8" switches which guard against trains derailing as they change tracks.
The first of this work, coming this weekend, is related to the Silver Line. The Orange Line will be closed between East Falls Church and West Falls Church stations to enable crews to work on the connection between the Silver and Orange Lines.
While closing stations and forcing passengers to use a bus may be disruptive for those passing through the work zone, they actually worked quite smoothly last time, Metro used them, on Memorial Day weekend. Many readers reported using them.
Metro also carried more passengers that weekend than the previous year, even with the shuttles. Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel said that over the Memorial Day weekend in 2010, Metro carried around 70,300 riders on the Blue and Orange Lines between Federal Center SW and Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road.
This year, the line was closed so that the interlocking at Eastern Market could be replaced. Passengers had to ride shuttle buses between Federal Center SW and Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road. Despite that, Metro carried 84,600 riders on the bus bridge.
It appears that the line closure and bus bridge did not deter riders from taking Metro. Hopefully, as closed segments and shuttle buses become a regular sight on Metro, they will continue to run as smoothly.
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