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Line by Line: Bracing for Metro Delays

* Metro announces new delays between Takoma and Brookland *
* Traffic and transit outlook for the weekend and beyond *
* Chat with Dr. Gridlock about Metro delays Monday at noon *

Metro riders should prepare for continuing delays as long-planned summer maintenance work ramps up across the system this weekend and through the month. The routine work was planned before the June 22 crash that killed nine people and injured 80 and is necessary because there are not enough overnight hours to complete the upkeep. The ensuing delays will further frustrate riders, who are already contending with slow trips resulting from speed restrictions on at least 13 sections of track because of problems with track circuits across the system.

metro map
SOURCE: Metro | The Washington Post - August 7, 2009. See larger map.

Yellow and Blue Lines

During Labor Day weekend, Metro will finish a complete track overhaul between the Reagan National Airport and Pentagon City stations. Workers will replace the rail switch -- the area where tracks intersect -- at Pentagon City and will install rail and repair the bridge near the airport station.


A lot of work needs to be done to prepare for the overhaul, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said. Starting Sunday and continuing through each of the next two workweeks, Yellow Line trains will be single-tracked from Braddock Road to L'Enfant Plaza from 10 p.m. until closing. From Aug. 23 through Sept. 3, trains will be single-tracked from 11 p.m. until closing Sundays through Thursdays.

-- Yellow Line trains will operate once every 36 minutes between the Fort Totten and Huntington stations during the late-night track work.

-- During the work periods, Blue Line trains will not operate between Rosslyn and King Street. Metro will operate the Blue Line in two segments, from Largo Town Center to Rosslyn and from Franconia-Springfield to King Street. Blue Line riders who wish to travel to Braddock Road, Reagan National Airport, Crystal City and Pentagon City must transfer to a Yellow Line train. A free shuttle bus will run from Rosslyn to the Pentagon, where riders can catch the Yellow Line. They also can catch the Yellow Line at King Street.

Red Line

-- Metro is advising Red Line riders to allow an additional 30 minutes for travel this weekend. Workers will make tunnel repairs from Medical Center to Friendship Heights, forcing trains to share one track between the stations from 10 p.m. Friday until midnight Sunday. Repairs to the track circuits on the Red Line will require single tracking between Fort Totten and Takoma after 10 p.m. starting tonight and continuing through August. Takoma, Fort Totten and Brookland stations will be closed on the weekends of Aug. 14-16 and Aug. 21-23. Free shuttle buses will be available on those days.

Orange Line

-- Metro is advising Orange Line riders to allow an additional 30 minutes for travel this weekend. Trains will also share a track from Vienna/Fairfax-GMU to West Falls Church-VT/UVA from 8 p.m. Friday through midnight Sunday so that crossties supporting the track can be replaced.

* See reader comments on the newspaper version of this story *

-- Reporting by James Hohmann and Carol Hutchinson

By Mike McPhate  |  August 7, 2009; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Weekend and Beyond
Next: Red Line Fix to Affect Late-Night, Weekend Service


Are you kidding me? Way to screw blue/yellow line riders...again...

Posted by: blah1233242 | August 7, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

How about this?

Shut the system down for a week (or two, if needed). Declare a state of emergency, close the government (it's August, a lot of people are on vacation anyway), etc. Then, Metro works around-the-clock to get as much completed as possible.

Wouldn't that be better than being nickle-and-dimed to death for over a month (and we all know if Metro says a month, we need to add 50% to 100% to the estimate)?

Posted by: ceebee2 | August 7, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"Shut the system down for a week "

Since that is a good idea, that garuntees it won't be done. Anyway, they would never want to give up the revenue lost by shutting down the system. They would much rather rip us all off for ship-shod half service at full price. They are reprehensible in every respect. Parasites feeding off the taxpayer.

Posted by: Trout1 | August 7, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

To get this straight, an unsuspecting person boards the Blue line late at night from say Foggy Bottom (Georgetown) or the Smithsonian (Mall). At Rosslyn, they're kicked off the train, exit the station, take a shuttle to Pentagon, board a Huntington-bound Yellow line train scheduled to run only every 36 minutes, transfer at King Street and finish their trip to the Blue line?

And it's going to be that way through the Labor Day weekend?

Posted by: cprferry | August 7, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

As badly run as the Metro is, they wouldn't have to be in this messy situation where 'overnight hours aren't enough' (which is unbelievable) if they'd been receiving funding for proper maintenance the whole time. Thanks, local/state/federal governments!

Posted by: Comunista | August 7, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it. Weekend service, and to a lesser degree non rush hour service on metro rail, is always atrocious. It takes too long given the interminable waits between trains.

Posted by: DrFish | August 7, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Comunista, that's nice, but there's still that little issue of applying the correct maintenance and performing routine checks. That's a talent and leadership issue. Can more money solve that?

Posted by: cprferry | August 7, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

To add to ceebee and Trout1's suggestion, make all fare's full fare during the week (i.e. no off-peak: make the tourists pay what the locals pay) and charge for parking on the weekend. Even if it's half of the weekday parking rate, it's still a decent source of revenue and paid in large part by the tourists. If Congress won't participate then make their constituents pay.

Posted by: bmfc | August 7, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I take the orange line in from the Vienna area both Sat. and Sunday every week, and I'm sick to death of the delays for repairs. This has gone on forever.

I think they should close down earlier on the weekends and use that time to do maint. instead of inconveniencing those who work for a living on the weekends.

Posted by: swissmiss150 | August 7, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

36 minutes!?!?!? Yikes! I find it hard to believe there are no switches between L'Enfant and Braddock Road, so, say, maybe they could break this up into 2 segments.

Posted by: thetan | August 7, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

So, swissmiss150, you think that everyone who works on the weekends works 9-5? Right...

Trout1, where do you plan to find all of the qualified rail maintenance workers to do all of those projects at once for three shifts?

Posted by: dal20402 | August 8, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

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