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D.C. Metro system expects limited service
for bus and rail during weekend

[Airports; Amtrak cancellations; D.C. snow emergency; MARC and MTA; Metrorail and Metrobus; Plowing plans; Snow removal; VRE]

[Guide to Using Metro During a Snowstorm]

Metro officials expect to begin Friday with regular bus and rail service throughout the Washington region but anticipate that will change as conditions deteriorate throughout the weekend.

Metro officials said Thursday that customers should not expect Metrobus or above-ground Metrorail service Saturday and Sunday due to the likely snow accumulation. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts that totals of 1 to 2 feet are possible. Underground rail service is expected to continue during the storm, Metro said.

Metro said it plans to give customers early warning of the impending storm closures this weekend to prevent riders from being stranded, as some were during December's historic snowfall. When more than eight inches of snow accumulates on the rails, it can interfere with the third rail, which provides electricity to power the trains.

During recent snowstorms, Metro has curtailed bus and MetroAccess service because of dangerous road conditions. During December's historic snowfall, Metro suspended rail service at its 39 above-ground stations when heavy snowfall began to cover the electrified third rail.

Metro plans to store some trains in tunnels in outlying portions of the rail system, but others will have to be stored in rail yards. Those trains will have to be dug out in time for the Monday morning rush hour, Metro said.

If above-ground service is suspended, Metro plans to run underground service every 30 minutes according to the following plan:

  • Yellow Line: Pentagon to Crystal City only

  • Red Line: Medical Center to Union Station only

  • Orange Line: Ballston to Stadium-Armory only

  • Green Line: Fort Totten to Congress Heights only

  • Blue Line: Ballston (extended to Blue Line) and Stadium-Armory only

Metro plans to gradually reduce bus and MetroAccess service Friday as conditions worsen.

By Michael Bolden  |  February 4, 2010; 4:23 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , transit  | Tags: Metro delays, metro, metrobus  
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Next: Highway departments ready for snow fight


Why close all underground stations west of Union station? Why not continue to Friendship Heights?
And if there is early dismissal for feds Friday, can Metro for once start the rush hour buses early?

Posted by: busgirl1 | February 4, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I think you're confused, busgirl1. Medical Center is on the west side of the Red Line and is further out than Friendship Heights. Take a look at the Metro map again. The reason Medical Center and Union Station would be the termini is that the tracks go above-ground once you pass those stops heading outbound from downtown.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 4, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Why run the blue line to Ballston? No orange line rider will get on it even though its going their way. Why not just shut down the blue line and run the orange line a bit more often then you would if you ran the blue line?

Makes no sense.

Posted by: archers44 | February 4, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Any idea why they don't/can't also run Red Line service from Glenmont to Silver Spring, which is underground for all but the last 200 yards, and the aboveground portion has three tracks to choose from? A shuttle service there would be helpful for a lot of east county folks.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | February 4, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Even that last 200 yards of track can be a big challenge.

That being said, I don't know why they wouldn't have a shuttle running between Glenmont and Forest Glen. I imagine it would primarily be used by people from Forest Glen and Glenmont needing to get to stores at places like Wheaton Plaza for supplies.

By saying Metro is serving all underground stations, that could be potentially misleading, perhaps they should say all underground stations inside the Beltway.

I rode Metro from Woodley Park to Clarendon during the December blizzard (needed to get Christmas shopping done!). Service was slow, but it certainly served its purpose well, and allowed those of us with access a way to get out and go on with our lives. And the almost empty stores were nice....

Posted by: thetan | February 5, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

"archers44" makes an excellent point. Seems silly to run two different lines that serve exactly the same stops with no differences between the two. It's not like they're doing something like the J and the Z or the 1 and the 9 with skip-stop service.

As for Silver Spring, I haven't ridden the Metro out to there since the 1980s when that stop was the end of the line, but presumably there is an uphill climb on the final stretch like there is at Reagan Airport, right? If so, that would probably just exacerbate the problems they anticipate.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 5, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

There is 4 hour early dismissal for Feds today. Good thing about it happening on a Fri is that a lot of Feds telecommute on Fri or use it as their day off for Alternate Work Schedule (4 X 10 hr days). Bottom line is if you plan to go out Sat & use the subway, check WTOP/local news or the Metro website to see if they have closed the above ground stations. Finding a cab during the blizzard won't be fun.

Posted by: uncivil | February 5, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Please let people know whether they would be able to ride Metro to National Airport on Sunday if outside stations shut down. I know the yellow line goes through outdoor stations but I don't remember if the blue line does. Please post this information to your column - thanks!

Posted by: corbinb | February 5, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The National Airport station is above ground, and up a hill from Crystal City. I wouldn't count on it being available if above ground service is compromised.

Posted by: miseaujeu | February 5, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Is Metro increasing midday service to get the Feds home? Their site doesn't say anything about it.

Posted by: airsix | February 5, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

This is a great happening! It will keep all the politicians at home and unable to "do no harm". Let it snow, let it snow!!

Posted by: rogerherd | February 5, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Not to worry, Congress and the honchos in the Fed and Treasury have already left for Florida to attend the Super Bowl.

Wonder if they went commercial?

Posted by: wesatch | February 5, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

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