Greater Greater Washington

Transit


Evolution of Metrorail animation, now with Rush Plus

Metro is debuting its "Rush Plus" service today. In honor of this, the latest step in Metro's 34-year growth and evo­lution, here is an updated version of our popular animation showing the history of Metrorail service.

Slideshow image

Opening Day
Opening Day for Metrorail. 5 stations open on the Red Line.

Gallery Place opens
Gallery Place opens. A court order delayed its opening for missing disability access.

Red Line to Dupont Circle
Red Line extended to Dupont Circle.

Blue Line opens
Blue Line opens from National Airport to Stadium-Armory.

Red Line to Silver Spring
Red Line opens to Silver Spring, inaugurating the first service to Maryland.

Orange Line opens
Orange Line opens to New Carrollton.
All trains run from National Airport to New Carrollton, signed Orange heading toward New Carrollton and Blue heading towards National Airport.

Orange Line to Ballston
Orange Line extended to Ballston.
Orange and Blue are now two separate services.

Blue Line to Addison Road
Blue Line extended to Addison Road.
Orange and Blue run a strange service pattern (see notes below for more discussion).

Red Line to Van Ness
Red Line extended to Van Ness.

Yellow Line opens
Yellow Line opens from National Airport to Gallery Place.

Yellow Line to Huntington
Yellow Line extended to Huntington.

Red Line to Grosvenor
Red Line extended to Grosvenor.

Red Line to Shady Grove
Red Line extended to Shady Grove.

Orange Line to Vienna
Orange Line extended to Vienna.
Gallery Place renamed Gallery Pl-Chinatown.

Red Line to Wheaton
Red Line extended to Wheaton.
Navy Memorial opens; Archives station renamed Archives-Navy Mem'l.

Yellow Line to U Street
Segment to U Street-Cardozo opens.
Service runs as Yellow Line temporarily.

Blue Line to Van Dorn Street
Blue Line extended to Van Dorn Street.

Green Line opens
Green Line formally opens from U Street to Anacostia.

Northern Green Line to Greenbelt
Northern Green Line segment opens from Fort Totten to Greenbelt.

Green Line Commuter Shortcut
Green Line Commuter Shortcut opens as 6-month experiment. Peak period Green Line trains use a switch to access the Red Line to Farragut North.
Ballston renamed Ballston-MU.

Blue Line to Franconia-Springfield
Blue Line extended to Franconia-Springfield. Green Line Commuter Shortcut continued, though it never appeared on official maps as it was always meant to be temporary.

Red Line to Glenmont
Red Line extended to Glenmont. Waterfront renamed Waterfront-SEU.

Inner Green Line opens
Inner Green Line segment opens from U Street to Fort Totten, replacing Green Line Commuter Shortcut. Woodley Park, U Street, West Falls Church, Dunn Loring, and Vienna get additional elements added to their names.

Green Line to Branch Avenue
Green Line extended to Branch Avenue.
The originally-planned system is now complete.
Addison Road renamed to Addison Road-Seat Pleasant.

New York Ave opens
New York Ave-Florida Ave/Gallaudet U infill station opens on the Red Line.
Mt. Vernon Sq., Rhode Island Ave., and National Airport get new names.

Blue Line to Largo
Blue Line extended to Largo Town Center.

Yellow Line to Fort Totten
Yellow Line begins running off-peak to Fort Totten.
Music Center at Strathmore opens; Grosvenor station renamed to Grosvenor-Strathmore.

Rush Plus
"Rush Plus" adds new rush patterns on the Orange and Yellow Lines. Map adds Silver Line under construction. NoMa station gets new name; Ballpark and Old Town added to names; SEU removed. 11 stations with long names use new concept of subtitles.

Yellow Line trains will head to Franconia-Springfield and Orange to Largo Town Center. The official map now also uses subtitles for some long station names, and a few stations get new names, most significantly "NoMa-Gallaudet U."

The rush hour service changes mean that riders headed east of Stadium-Armory or south of King Street (now King St-Old Town) will have to check the destination signs on their trains. Yellow Line and Blue Line riders may want to adjust their travel patterns.

The even more confusing service: Trains changing color

This isn't the most Metro has ever asked of riders, however. From November 20, 1978 to November 30, 1979, and then again from November 22, 1980 to April 29, 1983, some Blue and Orange trains used one color going in one direction, then switched colors heading back. If you lived in Clarendon in 1981, you would board a Blue Line train headed to DC and then catch an Orange Line train to get home.

Metro had to do this in 1978-1979 because trains at the time used physical rollsigns with text printed on a colored background. The New Carrollton sign had an orange background, while the National Airport destination sign used blue. Therefore, Metro had to have the trains switch colors for each direction.

Then, in the early 1980s, they started doing this again after the segment to Addison Road opened. At the time, with the Yellow Line not yet built, the demand for service on the Rosslyn to National Airport segment (now Blue) better matched the Stadium-Armory to New Carrollton segment (now Orange), and the demand on Rosslyn to Ballston (now Orange) lined up better with Stadium-Armory to Addison Road (now Blue).


Metro map from 1982.

Therefore, Metro ran trains from National Airport to New Carrollton and Ballston to Addison Road. But since the rollsigns didn't allow using the same color for each end of those services, the trains had to switch colors in each direction.

If Metro had to try something like this today for some reason, how do you think people would react?

The other rush-only service: Green Line Commuter Shortcut

This is also not the first time Metro has had rush hour only service. From December 11, 1993 to September 18, 1999, the Green Line had 2 unconnected segments, one from Greenbelt to Fort Totten and the other from U Street to Anacostia.

On January 27, 1997, Metro started using a single-track switch at Fort Totten to send rush hour Green Line trains from Greenbelt onto the Red Line. They ran on the Red Line tracks to Farragut North, where there is a pocket track to turn around. This "Green Line Commuter Shortcut" continued until the Green Line opened through Columbia Heights and Petworth, connecting the two sections permanently.


Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.

Metro never included this on its maps except for a green box explaining the service. Therefore, while today is not the first time Metro has run a rush hour-only service pattern, it's the first time the maps have displayed it, now using a dashed line.

Metro's maps did show planned and under construction segments until 2004, but these maps do not. I've included the Silver Line under construction, however.

Sources

Most of this data comes from the nycsubway.org timeline of the Washington Metro and WMATA's history page.

The dates of station name changes come from Wikipedia's pages on individual stations and other online sources. To keep the number of maps manageable, and because many stations' exact renaming dates are not available, I've grouped station renamings in with the next major service change, even when that takes place years later; for example, Metro renamed Ballston to Ballston-MU in 1995, but the next map, showing the Green Line Commuter Shortcut, depicts the system in 1997.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

Comments

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During the Green Line Shortcut years, did Green Line trains really stop at both levels of Gallery Place? That must have been confusing as heck...

by andrew on Jun 18, 2012 10:56 am • linkreport

Awesome! Hope we add more to this again soon.

Also, my captcha for this was perfect: "Street remove"

by Dave Murphy on Jun 18, 2012 10:58 am • linkreport

But I liked the Snowpocalypse maps...

by Vanmo96 on Jun 18, 2012 11:20 am • linkreport

The Green Line Shortcut mention reminded me of the signs I used to see in Gallery Place that referred to a Blue Line Shortcut. The signs also told riders to watch for destinations and listen to announcements. And I found an article in The Washington Post that mentions the Blue Line Shortcut, too, and seems to include the aforementioned Green Line Shortcut as well.

by Joey in VA on Jun 18, 2012 11:52 am • linkreport

Joey: Fascinating. It looks like this "Blue Line shortcut" service is very similar to Rush Plus, but the trains probably only went from Mt. Vernon Square to Franconia, and only around sporting events at Gallery Place rather than during rush.

by David Alpert on Jun 18, 2012 11:57 am • linkreport

According to Rush+, northern yellow line termini are now Fort Totten and Greenbelt…
so why was I on a yellow train to Mt Vernon this morning???

Mt Vernon is no longer the "end of the line" in any case according METRO maps.

by South Awwlington on Jun 18, 2012 12:01 pm • linkreport

The blue line shortcut signs still exist, I saw them recently on the platform level in Gallery Place at the Chinatown exit. It seemed a little silly to me as Metro Center is only two blocks away and only two blue stations aren't served by yellow trains.

by arm on Jun 18, 2012 12:05 pm • linkreport

South Awwlington:
Only the yellow trains from Franconia-Springfield go to Greenbelt, the normal yellow trains from Huntington still end at Mount Vernon Square. Metro most likely confused many by leaving that off the map.

by arm on Jun 18, 2012 12:07 pm • linkreport

@Arm,

Yes, this is confusing According to the map, Yellow line from Huntington is to run to Fort Totten during rush hours.

If this is a map issue, it's huge.

by South Awwlington on Jun 18, 2012 12:13 pm • linkreport

South Awwlington:
The map for years has left off that every other red line train ends at Silver Spring, that's caused no major problems to my knowledge (it used to mention that half ended at Grosvenor). I think it's unfortunate that the yellow line was not better addressed on the map because many people are likely confused, but people will learn quickly to adjust.

by arm on Jun 18, 2012 12:19 pm • linkreport

@Arm,

I guess if a service map that doesn't reflect service is a non-issue for Metro, I (nor anyone else) can help them.

While I do support METRO wholeheartedly, this is a communication problem.

I thought by increasing the Yellow trains via the Springfield additions, we were adjusting for the lack of Yellow trains turning back at Mt Vernon.

Whatever the case, my commute is not affected. Still, communication fail.

by South Awwlington on Jun 18, 2012 12:24 pm • linkreport

they should of build express trackage

by Jibreel Riley on Jun 18, 2012 12:34 pm • linkreport

I too miss the Snowpocalypse map in the animation. It clearly illustrates how ridiculous the Pentagon-Crystal City "shuttle to nowhere" looks.

I'm sure this service benefits a few people during a major snow event, if you can't sustain a weather-proof connection with the rest of the system, why bother?

by SeanontheRoad on Jun 18, 2012 2:36 pm • linkreport

Why was the Yellow Line bridge completed so early; that should have been the last on the list

by kk on Jun 18, 2012 4:09 pm • linkreport

@kk, the Yellow Line bridge opened in 1983 with the center part of the Yellow Line. It allowed direct trips from Gallery Place, L'Enfant Plaza to the Pentagon, Crystal City, National Airport,and then to King Street to Huntington. Pretty important link in the system. What should it have been delayed for?

by AlanF on Jun 18, 2012 5:49 pm • linkreport

Thanks for updating the evolution map. Neat way to see how the Metro expanded. I hope we will get another update when Phase 1 of the Silver Line opens.

For fun, we should have a extension to Future map through 2040 with the best guesses at what will be added and when.
-Silver Line Phase 2 in 2017?,
-Potomac Yard in-fill station in 2017?,
-Purple Line in 2022? (I think the Purple Line should be part of the WMATA map and should be tied into the WMATA system when all is said and done).
-don't know how or if the DC and Northern VA planned streetcars might be referenced on the map.

More speculative wish list stuff like Blue Line re-route to Georgetown to M street to Union Station, extensions of the Orange, Blue, Yellow lines, a physical Farragut Square tunnel, any other ideas on other expansions or projects that could realistically be done by 2040 for kicks.

Once the outcome of the Silver Line Phase 2 is known and the dust settles a bit from the political fights over it, it may a good time to re-start public discussions of what the next major service expansions should be for the DC Metro system. That is something that GGW can contribute to.

by AlanF on Jun 18, 2012 6:07 pm • linkreport

The original Red Line with just five stations... ah, memories. Gallery Place didn't open for another nine months, because the handicapped elevators were not complete and a federal judge would not let the station open without them. Dupont Circle was also supposed to be part of the first phase, but was delayed as well.

And the quarter-mile walk from National Airport station to the old terminal, for 20 years.

by Frank IBC on Jun 18, 2012 6:33 pm • linkreport

Frank, thanks for the first-hand account. I wonder how Metro gets around all the broken-down escalators with precedent such as that. Not that I want them to start closing stations, but maybe remembering that force of law could encourage them to hand their elevator and escalator maintenance over to competent technicians (in-house or contracted...I don't care, so long as they WORK!).

by Ms. D on Jun 18, 2012 6:52 pm • linkreport

Alan, don't forget the pedestrian tunnel between Metro Center and Gallery Place. That would make my life 500% better during Caps season and other major Verizon Center events.

by Ms. D on Jun 18, 2012 6:57 pm • linkreport

Metro Center is only four small blocks away from the Verizon Center. Do we really need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build a tunnel?

by arm on Jun 18, 2012 7:04 pm • linkreport

Judging by the number of people who either transfer from the Blue/Orange to the Red to go to the Verizon Center or who get on at Metro Center and transfer at Gallery Place, yes, yes we do need to spend the money to build that tunnel. This is my everyday commute (when the weather sucks), so if you'd care to join me to experience this first hand (Caps season/game days are prime time, but any major event at VC will do), just let me know. I often mutter that people should just walk it, walk it myself (on top of the 4 blocks from my workplace to Metro Center), or bike to Union Station and THEN get on the Metro, but others seem not to understand how close the stops/destinations are (or don't care, I once went out to happy hour on 7th with a coworker who insisted on boarding at Federal Triangle - closest stop to work - transferring @ Metro Center, and getting off at Gallery Place...trust me, I suggested just walking the whole way, or at least to Metro Center, and he whined about both options being "too far"). It's my understanding that this tunnel has been under consideration for some time...

by Ms. D on Jun 18, 2012 8:22 pm • linkreport

Ms. D:
If it's a problem about people being unaware of the closeness of the stations, then an educating the public would seem to be a far better use of money than building the tunnel. While the tunnel has been under consideration for some time, it's always seemed more like a fantasy idea than one seriously under consideration to me.

by arm on Jun 18, 2012 8:30 pm • linkreport

@AlanF

I mean there was already a Blue Line and back then they could have just started on the Green line. If you had the system as it is today without the Yellow Line or having the Yellow Line built last it would have made little difference as you can get to most places on it via another line which can not be said for most of the other portions of the system.

Even today the Yellow line adds only two stations to the system today they really could have just dropped the Yellow Line and sent the Blue to Huntington then have made a U-turn to Franconia. What reason is there for having a short cut from Alexandria to DC vs short cuts from Montgomery, Arlington or PG Counties to DC

by kk on Jun 18, 2012 8:38 pm • linkreport

Has there been any thought about having the Yellow Line crossing the western portion of the Red Line similar to How the Green Line does at Ft Totten ?

by kk on Jun 18, 2012 8:53 pm • linkreport

Arm, I think it's a combination of the lack of knowledge about how close the two stops are and laziness. Surely the everyday commuters who board the front of the train and can SEE the Gallery Place platform from Metro Center know they're only a few blocks from their transfer. My coworker knew the distances and deemed them all "too far." While an awareness campaign to get those NOVA Caps fans to walk it might help some, the tunnel will substantially reduce crowding by those unaware (not everyone will see the ads) or indifferent to the short distance between stops. I certainly don't think that this tunnel should take funding priority over major needs such as capital improvement or the separated blue line, but it is something in the works that will help Metro function more smoothly.

by Ms. D on Jun 18, 2012 9:01 pm • linkreport

Also, the 17th and Eye and Connecticut and K Farragut West/North entrances are closer together than Metro Center and Gallery Place. I don't see anyone complaining here about converting that "virtual" tunnel to a real one...

by Ms. D on Jun 18, 2012 9:09 pm • linkreport

@Ms. D, maybe not in this set of comments so far, but lots of people have long advocated for a physical connecting tunnel at the Farragut Sq stations. Once it was known that there would be 2 separate stations at the Square, a tunnel should have included in the plans when the stations were being built.

What were the projected costs to build the less extravagant Farragut Square and Metro Center - Gallery Place pedestrian tunnels? While the DC Metro has to spend considerable money on the maintenance program, the WMATA board should look at allocating the funding for the tunnels as the maintenance catch-up winds down.

by AlanF on Jun 18, 2012 10:45 pm • linkreport

Yes, Alan, it is my understanding that both of these tunnels have been in the works for some time. I was just pointing out that, given the political climate limiting public expenditures on publicly beneficial things around the time that Metro was built and since then, that we should play "catch up" on capital improvements and direly needed things like the separated Blue Line before we build the pedestrian tunnels. I LOVE the idea of the tunnels, and want them to be built in my lifetime, but other desires should be greater priorities given the current climate. For now, well publicized "virtual" tunnels will do, but I won't lay off the demands to make these actual in my lifetime.

by Ms. D on Jun 18, 2012 11:06 pm • linkreport

A tunnel between the Farraguts was penciled in initially but was torpedoed by the National Park Service, which has jurisdiction over Farragut Square (any tunnel would have to go underneath it and thus would have to cut & cover through Farragut Square).

My understanding is that a pedestrian tunnel between Metro Center and Gallery Place is currently somewhere in the engineering stage (I know an engineer who told me his company assigned him for a time to the project).

by Dizzy on Jun 19, 2012 12:11 am • linkreport

@Ms D, the two pedestrian tunnels, while not cheap, will cost somewhere in the multiple 10s of millions to build. The proposed Blue Line re-route with a new tunnel under the Potomac to Georgetown to M Street to Union Station and then back to the current Blue Line route will take a decade of engineering and environmental studies and cost multiple billions to build. The 2 tunnels could be built for the spare change left over of the Blue Line re-route cost.

The tunnels are really not an either or choice issue for a major system expansion.

by AlanF on Jun 19, 2012 12:32 am • linkreport

The pedestrian tunnel would mainly serve the people who currently jam into the trains from Gallery Place to Metro Center or the other way around. This is for people who are ALREADY in the system and aren't going to go out and walk and pay a base fare again (or use a "topside transfer" like they have at Farragut which would take much longer than just using the train now). The tunnels are for people who want to take Blue/Orange to Green/Yellow (or vice versa) without going to L'Enfant plaza. During rush hour Red line trains fill up considerably just between Metro Center and Gallery Place because at rush hour it's faster just to brave the crush than to go an extra 5 stops. With a tunnel many people would probably just walk rather than wait for a red line train. Also it would be beneficial to off-peak travelers given long headways.

Here's more info about the tunnel:
Presentation: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/docs/PD_MCGP_Ped_Tunnel_Drawings_071405.pdf
Report: http://www.wmata.com/pdfs/planning/Station%20Access/Gallery_Metro_Center_NoAppendices.pdf

It has nothing to do with people who get on initially at either Metro Center or Gallery Place and want to go one stop and transfer. Many of those people likely ALREADY walk to the other station but how would you count that data?

by MLD on Jun 19, 2012 8:16 am • linkreport

Found a 2008 Station Access and Capacity report that placed building the two pedestrian tunnels among the highest priority projects to improve capacity of the Metro system. The 2008 estimate was $32 million for the Farragut North to West tunnel and $41 million for the Metro Center to Galley Place tunnel. Not that expensive, but I suspect the problem is that the tunnels do not benefit a single station or jurisdiction, but the entire system, so there is no one decision maker to take the lead on pushing for the tunnels to be built.

by AlanF on Jun 19, 2012 12:08 pm • linkreport

Arm, I think it's a combination of the lack of knowledge about how close the two stops are and laziness.

It can't be the first--as virtually everyone I see on Metro has an iPhone or some sort of smartphone/iPad that has internet access and we all know it takes 2 clicks to figure out how close the stations are--you can even get a step by step direction guide or even a visual map with the flashing blue ball showing you where you are if you are too lazy to read directions.

It's pure laziness. This is why Americans are some of the fattest people in the World.

I'm against building pedestrian tunnels for such short distances---or if they are built, they should be only for the elderly or disabled (which would be tough to enforce).

by LuvDusty on Jun 19, 2012 12:50 pm • linkreport

@kk:

I mean there was already a Blue Line and back then they could have just started on the Green line.

I'm assuming you are unaware that the Green Line was tied up in litigation for years. When I moved to DC the first time in 1989, U Street NW was a nightmare of construction that crippled businesses in the corridor for years, because the southeast end of the Green Line was the subject of a drawn-out legal battle over where the terminal should be (Branch Avenue or Rosecroft Raceway?) and a judge had embargoed all work on the Green Line until the controversy was resolved.

That being the case, getting the Yellow Line finished and giving people from DC a shorter route to National Airport, as well as other Arlington and Alexandria destinations, wasn't a bad thing to do.

by TimK on Jun 20, 2012 11:47 am • linkreport

Let me clarify my comment: By 1989, work had resumed on the Green Line, but it still wasn't finished (as we know, the extension from Gallery Place to U Street opened in 1991).

by TimK on Jun 20, 2012 11:48 am • linkreport

@ TimK

I understand that my main point is shortcuts should be the last thing done when there is already a perfectly functioning route. They should be done only when the rest of a system is complete.

I believe in spreading service out to serve everyone before planning on redundancy or shortcuts. To tell the truth beyond the to southern stations served only be the Yellow line there is no point to it. They could just have had the Green Line. It could have went 4 or 5 stops while the other issues were sorted.

by kk on Jun 20, 2012 5:30 pm • linkreport

Here is a better question concerning stations that are close together. Why was there not just one in the first place ?

Farragut North & West

Metro Center & Gallery Place & Judiciary Sq

by kk on Jun 20, 2012 5:41 pm • linkreport

@kk
The Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Line_(Washington_Metro) actually gives a pretty good summary of the controversy. They could not have "had the Green Line," it's not like it was built and just sitting there...

by MLD on Jun 20, 2012 5:43 pm • linkreport

Farragut North/West were supposed to originally be one station but the Park Service said no because they would have had to build it under Farragut Square.

As for why stations are close together in the core - you have more concentrated destinations there so you need more stations in order to balance passenger flow.

by MLD on Jun 20, 2012 5:45 pm • linkreport

@kk:

I understand that my main point is shortcuts should be the last thing done when there is already a perfectly functioning route. They should be done only when the rest of a system is complete.

So you think it would have been better not to build anything at all than to build the Yellow Line during that period? Again, the Green Line was partially built, but no construction was allowed on it for several years. See the Wikipedia link MLD posted for details. (That link actually won't work unless you add a right parenthesis to the end. There must be something wrong with the way GGW's comment system parses URLs.)

Also, if you're saying that a significantly shorter trip to National Airport (not to mention Pentagon and other Arlington and Alexandria destinations) isn't worth anything ("To tell the truth beyond the to southern stations served only be the Yellow line there is no point to it"), I can't take you seriously.

by TimK on Jun 20, 2012 6:02 pm • linkreport

@ TimK

Why should there be an extra way to get to Alexandria when there is none for the rest of the lines plain and simple. What about the other lines there is no shorter trip for those.

I never said it should not be done I said it should wait as there is already a solution available to get to Regan Airport and the Pentagon that is called the Blue Line.

by kk on Jun 21, 2012 7:08 am • linkreport

It is interesting to see how most of the metro was completed in VA first even before 1980. Then the stations in PG county got finished pretty much last. Also, the lines tend to extend further out into VA and Montgomery Counties than they do in Prince George's County from the D.C. line. If the blue and green lines in PGC were equidistant from the D.C. as the orange and red lines in VA and MC respectively, Bowie should have a blue line metro station as well as Laurel with the green line. Perhaps the green line should be in Columbia by now seeing as how far north the red line goes into Montgomery County. I wonder if this correlates to TOD development and how PGC's stations lag development. It was an interesting video.

by adelphi_sky on Jun 22, 2012 1:34 pm • linkreport

What is there left to do?

Ideas:
*Extend the "Silver Line" to Dulles International Airport

*Extend the "Green Line" to Laurel Mall and/or Fort Meade

*Add a "Circle Line" along the Red Line from Silver Spring, then in a 'clockwise' loop between existing Takoma and Tenleytown-AU stations and individual routing along Western Avenue with several stops

by Marlon Hall (MJofLakeland1) on Sep 22, 2012 4:54 am • linkreport

There was another short cut. After the Blue Line was extended beyond National Airport some trains still turned back there, opening their doors on both sides. Toward the end of the rush hour some of these trains were signed for New Carrollton and billed as the Orange Line. Once they reached Rosslyn they joined the Orange Line. Passengers did not seem confused by the odd announcement.

Metro had a few unfortunate incidents with the pocket track at the airport. They removed two of the switches at each end, turning it into a trailing turnback that seems essentially useless. Part of the problem is that the switches were placed are too close to the station. The platform walkways in the service area beyond the passenger area had to be blasted away so the trains could clear the station structure.

by Bob M on Jan 31, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

The Orange Line extension beyond Rosslyn served four stations: Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston. it was not always so.

The original configuration, up until a few months before the line opened, was: Courthouse, Clarondon, Ballston, and Glebe road. The rollsign curtains on the original Rohr (1000 series) cars displayed "Glebe Road" on a black background. Considering that this was always an Orange Line station, an orange background would have made sense. Those same curtains included "Takoma" on a red background. Takoma was never a terminal and it was one of the very few emergency crossovers featured on the rollsigns.

When the decision was made to change the station names the rollsign curtains were sent to the Bladensburg bus garage, where the proper names were silk screened onto blank portions of the curtain. This included an inside "Ballston" exposure, an outside "Ballston" exposure, and the bar codes used to index the signs. There were four curtains per car and 300 cars, or 1,200 curtains plus spares. The sign shop cranked those out in record time.

by Bob M on Jan 31, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

The missing station.

Beyond the Stadium-Armory station is a junction with a pocket track. It is adjacent to the Pepco plant on Benning Road. This is D&G Junction, where the D Route (New Carrollton) and the G Route (Largo) meet.

This was to be the location of the Oklahoma Avenue station. A nice little old lady who lived nearby did not like the idea of a subway stop in her neighborhood and she managed to get it deleted from the plans.

Unlike most pocket tracks, this one will just fit an 8 car train with no room to spare.

by Bob M on Jan 31, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

Why not allign the Silver Line from Dulles to Reagan? Seems there is too much traffic in the Rosslyn tunnel now and there can be a marketed "connection" for travelers.

by James H on Aug 29, 2013 12:41 pm • linkreport

I like playing "what's next" - this is the debate about who we want to serve with more transit. Do we extend lines further and further, or do we better connect people within the range of the existing system?

I say the latter. The biggest systems around the world connect large percentages of their geographic area in an interlocking set of lines, not just a hub and spoke. Big hub/spoke systems (like Chicago and Buenos Aires) have turned away from extending lines outward, and are building crossing lines that connect served areas to each other, not just to downtown. This contributes to these communities' capacity to become multifaceted economic centers, rather than just starting points for commutes to somewhere else.

Consider an "inner purple line" that would connect already-popular stops on different lines to each other, while taking away the need to transfer downtown. This line could connect Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, U Street, NoMa, a new station near Capital Hill, Eastern Market, Navy Yard, and a new station at the Tidal Basin - all in a big loop.

It would add a lot of capacity and relieve congestion at Metro Center/L'Enfant/Gallery Place. Suburban riders would benefit because more transfer points and a new line could move riders off their lines and reduce congestion. And since existing lines are already close to their 26 trains/hour limit, extending them just attracts more riders to a system without doing anything to expand the capacity at its choke points.

For cost, subways are never cheap, but a) expanding existing stations takes less work (and no land procurement), and b) the total mileage would be short - about a mile per stop, and 1/3 the length of the Silver Line. And it'd be a safe investment. The communities are familiar with transit already, the areas are densely built around stops already, and the ridership numbers at those locations are already high. I think it would be a very effective economic-development engine.

by Scott Williamson on Sep 12, 2013 4:18 pm • linkreport

What is wrong with the tunnel between Rosslyn an Foggy Bottom/GWU?

by Ben on Nov 12, 2013 8:40 pm • linkreport

There was another early shortcut that most people did not know of.

When National Airport was the end of the Blue Line trains would pull into the center track and announce "Doors opening on both sides". After the line was extended some trains still cut back there.

I once boarded a train on the center track when the operator announced, "This is the Orange Line for New Carrollton". This was before the Blue Line was extended from Addison Road so a few trains ran as an Orange Line train to get back to the yard at the end of the evening rush hour. Once they reached Rosslyn and joined the Orange Line no one would know the difference.

That pocket track is now a single crossover. Trains have to pass through the station and change ends to enter the center track and I don't know that it is used much at all. The other two switches were removed following a derailment, which occurred on the inbound end of the station and not on a switch point.

I guess it was easier to do something big to "fix" the problem rather than maintain the track. To be fair about it, that pocket track was too short and the switches too sharp to be useful. The switch points wore so badly they had to be replaced regularly. Once Metro finally installed gentler, fully guarded switches the point wear problems abated.

The first run on a new line is made with a clearance car that bristles with feelers. On the feeler train run it was found that the switches were so close to the passenger platform that the overhang of trains using the center track would strike the platform edge. On the inbound end of the station they had to blast away the access walkways in the non-revenue areas so trains taking the center track did not rip their sides open.

by BobM on Nov 12, 2013 10:58 pm • linkreport

Will this be updated with the new Silver Line map and opening of the Silver Line?...

by William Anderson on Jun 24, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

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