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Did you guess the Metro station? Here are the answers to this week's quiz

On Monday, we posted our first challenge to see how well you knew Metro. I took Instagram photos of 5 stations and we asked you to try to identify them. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

We got 40 guesses on the post. No one guessed all 5 correctly, but two people, Sand Box John and Phil, each got 4 correct. Congratulations!

Image 1: Prince George's Plaza.

The first image was of Prince George's Plaza. Half of you got that right. The station is in an open cut, and the southern end of the platform has nice terraced hedges. Those are visible in the picture from aboard a Greenbelt-bound train.

About a quarter of you guessed Arlington Cemetery, which was a good guess. That station also has side platforms and is in a cut.

Image 2: Greenbelt.

Image 2 was a tough one. This is a photo of a skylight above the faregates at Greenbelt station. Next time you head for the B30, look up.

Only one person, Phil, got this one right.

Image 3: NoMa-Galluadet University.

NoMa is a newer station, which is clear in this photo from the clean, fresh concrete wall. NoMa also went through the signage update early, which is why the sign has new elements, but is missing the "RD" in the circle that is present in the newest signage. 13 of you got this one.

Several of you guessed subway stations for this one. Since the arrow is pointing up toward the platform, this one clearly had to be a station where the tracks were above the mezzanine, not below.

Image 4: Wheaton.

This is a photo of the longest escalators in the Western Hemisphere, at Wheaton station. Of course, Metro has lots of stations with long escalators, so this one was a bit challenging. Even still, 15 of you got it right.

Other popular choices included Woodley Park (7 guesses) and Dupont Circle (4 guesses).

Image 5: Gallery Place.

17 of you correctly deduced that it was Gallery Place. This one is a great example of how to use deductive reasoning to solve the clue. There were some hints of that in the comments. What do we know about the picture?

First off, this is a station that has side platforms and is underground. That immediately narrows it down to 13 stations. We can't see a cross vault, which takes Metro Center and L'Enfant Plaza off the list.

Given the length of the view and the position of the photographer, we can tell that the station has mezzanines at both ends. That narrows it down to 6 (Dupont Circle, Farragut West, Gallery Place, Judiciary Square, McPherson Square, and Smithsonian). The platform is also missing pylons, which narrows it down to 4 stations, which don't have them (Farragut West, Gallery Place, Judiciary Square, and McPherson Square).

Next Monday, we'll have 5 more photos for you to identify. Thanks for playing!

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master's in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Greenbelt. Hes a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He is a contract employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer. 


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Ahh crikey, totally missed there were more photos than just the first one. Definitely would've missed that NoMa shot.

by Bossi on Apr 16, 2014 2:34 pm • linkreport

The NoMa one was the only station I DID recognize!

by MLD on Apr 16, 2014 2:44 pm • linkreport

Also, I am prepping my competing "which bus bench is this" photo series. One trash can and free paper box at a time!

by MLD on Apr 16, 2014 2:45 pm • linkreport

Too much red green action all in one post. And I take the red and the green every day.

by Richard on Apr 16, 2014 2:48 pm • linkreport

Can't believe I missed NoMa - that's my home station! I should probably open my eyes a bit more when I'm running to catch a train!

by Ross on Apr 16, 2014 3:23 pm • linkreport

Would you be willing to expand the scope a bit, such as a shot of a bus on a route in a scene, with enough hint to make it detectable (including the route number) but not obvious?

by A.P. on Apr 16, 2014 3:48 pm • linkreport

I got 2/5. That was fun. I was so close with two of those that I got wrong: I picked Farragut West for the last one. It just didn't look long enough to be Gallery Place. I use both Greenbelt and Branch Ave regularly and somehow confused them on #2 and incorrectly chose Branch. The NoMa one really should have been a no-brainer as the author suggests. I was stumped and for whatever reason guessed Friendship Hts.

Nice job SBJ and Phil!

by dcmike on Apr 16, 2014 4:03 pm • linkreport


That kind of defeats the whole purpose of this quiz, at least in my eyes. From the first post:

"One of WMATA's design principles from the start was to have a uniform station design. That can sometimes make it hard to figure out which stop you're at. But there are subtle differences."

By expanding the scope, the focus is no longer solely on the stations, but instead their environments, which vary greatly station to station. In some of the outside stations this is hard to avoid, but I think the fun of these quizzes is to figure out the subtle differences between the stations themselves, and not much more.

by Jason L. on Apr 16, 2014 4:07 pm • linkreport

3 out of 5, not bad. I really thought the top one was Arlington even though it didnt look quite right. Can't believe I missed Greenbelt, I knew I knew it but couldn't place it.

by BTA on Apr 16, 2014 4:47 pm • linkreport

It is a very fine balance taking these pictures. I have to find a shot that does not include the station name, but at the same time it has to include some unique feature.

I promise not to just take a picture of a vault square, which could be one of dozens of stations. But in future editions, there may be more context around the station.

Thanks for playing!

by Matt Johnson on Apr 16, 2014 5:04 pm • linkreport

I totally guessed on Greenbelt. Too bad I said Farragut West instead of Gallery Place.

by Phil on Apr 16, 2014 6:03 pm • linkreport

Haha the only 2 I got correct were the 2 I immediately recognized: Prince George's Plaza and Wheaton.

- I seriously can't believe I didn't get Greenbelt. I've been in that station at least 50 times! -_-

- I was way off with NoMa and would have never guessed correctly, but I should have picked up the new concrete clue.

- Dupont Circle was my educated guess for the last one, so I wasn't far off. My knowledge of Metro definitely doesn't extend to which platforms have pylons and multiple mezzanines...

This was a pretty clever trivia challenge. Happy to see that it will continue.

The architecture of the Metro system is among my favorite in the area, and imho the most tasteful/attractive examples of brutalism in DC (by far), especially the gullwing stations. Too bad the new Silver Line stations are horrendous looking. Even Noma/Largo/Morgan Blvd have attractive contemporary architecture.

by King Terrapin on Apr 16, 2014 8:40 pm • linkreport

3/5, missed Greenbelt and NoMa. Not bad, let's do it again!

by Justin..... on Apr 16, 2014 10:07 pm • linkreport

I put down two guesses for almost each image. Its easy to tell certain stations apart all stations built around the same time (5 years) all look mostly the same.

There are only four or five designs for outdoor stations which make them easy to spot and for underground stations that are all mostly the same except for placement of escalators and elevators and whether it has a curved or flat ceiling.

The only unique stations designs are Rosslyn/Pentagon, Forest Glen, Wheaton, Congress Heights (its the smallest), Fort Totten, Anacostia, Huntington, Cheverly, Rhode Island Ave & National Airport.

All other stations could be broken up and grouped as followed, they all basically have the same designs within groups but a few changed due to geographic area.

Ones that have bridges over roads,highways or creeks (everything between Vienna & East Falls Church, Franconia)

Ground level and have entrances undergound (brookland, Minnesota Ave, Deanwood, Shady Grove, )

Ground level with entrance above ground (Cheverly)

Partially underground and ground level (Southern Ave, Suiltland, Morgan Blvd, Grovsnor & White Flint)

by kk on Apr 16, 2014 11:48 pm • linkreport

Why don't METRO Stations display the street names or numbers of their location

by D. Lonesome on Apr 17, 2014 8:53 am • linkreport

I was 4 for 5.

Prince George's Plaza was a little harder, one of two surface twin platform in an open cut. Arlington Cemetery doesn't have the cobble stones on the bank behind the platform parapets.

I should have gotten Greenbelt primarily because I visited that station twice a month during construction.

New York Avenue was easiest because of the texture of the concrete wall, it is the only station in the system with that texture.

Wheaton was easy, length and width.

Gallery place was also pretty easy, no escalators descending to the platform from the mezzanine on the other end.

by Sand Box John on Apr 17, 2014 10:03 am • linkreport

@Sand Box John:
Just FYI, the Gallery Place photo was taken from the mezzanine under the crossvault. So the mezzanine that is visible at the far end does have escalators dropping directly to the platforms.

Here's an unblurred version of the same image:

by Matt Johnson on Apr 17, 2014 10:13 am • linkreport

@Matt Johnson:

To me the out of focus picture looks like it was taken from the west mezzanine. Hard to see the escalators behind what appears to look like the next train displays. That being said I guess you can say I made WAG.

by Sand Box John on Apr 17, 2014 1:43 pm • linkreport

Hope you include the ugly construction and broken escalators--that will help me enormously, since virtually every station I use has ugly construction or a broken escalator, or in the case of Bethesda, both.
Nice idea for a competition. I can't imagine why we wanted all stations to look so identically grim. Stations that reflect their communities and are distinct from one another are cherished in cities like Paris or Moscow.

by Wendy, a Walker in Bethesda on Apr 17, 2014 4:23 pm • linkreport

What an ugly, ugly system it is.

60s-70s brutalism at its worst.

by Capt. Hilts on Apr 17, 2014 8:59 pm • linkreport

@Wendy, a Walker, Capt. Hilts

It is obvious to me that both of you are to young to remember what the stations looked like when they were new. Had you seen them when they were new you likely be more discussed on how WMATA has gone about maintaining them instead of about how you now see them as ugly.

I happen to believe the Silver line stations that have yet to open will not standup to the test of time in 35 years compared to the stations that opened 35 years ago.

by Sand Box John on Apr 17, 2014 10:55 pm • linkreport

Well, 3 of 5 right. I've never gotten out at the NOMA Station so I'm not surprised I missed it. And my three trips to Greenbelt have not been recent. I thought the last one (Gallery Place) was the easiest.

by T1 on Apr 18, 2014 10:29 am • linkreport

Speaking of Gallery Place .... you CAN see the cross-vault if you let your eyes follow the left & right sides of vault, you have to look closely, but you can see the anomoly if you look close enough.

by coneyraven on Apr 18, 2014 12:51 pm • linkreport

No, you cannot. The photo is taken from the mezzanine directly beneath the crossvault. The mezzanine in the distance is the 9th and G mezzanine.

This is a clean version of the same photo (as I told SBJ above):

by Matt Johnson on Apr 18, 2014 1:50 pm • linkreport

Sand Box John - yes, I remember the system in the early '80s, and while I agree with you that basic cleaning and maintenance is an issue, there is little that is outstanding in the stations - especially above ground. The skylights at Greenbelt just aren't going to look good no matter what.

I, too, like the vaulted look of Metro Center, but Bethesda Station is dark, filthy and dreary.

by Capt. Hilts on Apr 18, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

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