What's up with the Red Line
When I post the Metro maintenance schedule, as I did in the weekend and beyond, I often hear from Red Line riders who feel like they've been targeted for special abuse by the transit authority. Why has Metro spent so long working on the western side of the line? What are they doing and will it ever end? Here's an update.
Metro's contractor is scheduled to wrap up track maintenance between Friendship Heights and Grosvenor as of Monday morning, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said. The weeknight and weekend single-tracking between the stations for this program began in November.
The job in that sector involved replacing 12,000 feet of track, 290 cross ties, 910 rail insulators and 9,800 track fasteners. That's the main part of the safety and reliability project, and the contractor will be done there, but Metro's own track personnel may need to go in from time to time.
The Red Line rehabilitation project is a long-term effort to upgrade the entire route. It's frustrating for riders in the same way that the Chain Bridge and 14th Street Bridge rehabilitation projects are frustrating for drivers. The improvements extend the life of the transportation infrastructure and make it safer, but much of the improvement is out of sight. All travelers know is that the work causes delays and inconvenience.
That should change in the next phase, as the work gets more visible. In June, the rehabilitation program will begin platform and tile repairs at Shady Grove, Rockville, Twinbrook and White Flint. Deteriorated sections of the platform edges with get new concrete. Then Metro will replace the crumbling tiles.
But this means single-tracking the trains on weeknights and weekends to get around the work zones. The first weekend work on this portion of the line is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of June 18-20. Trains would share a track between Twinbrook and Shady Grove. Limiting work to those off-peak hours makes it a long job: Metro expects the platform repairs to be done in early 2011 and the tile replacement to be complete in early summer 2011.
Starting this summer, the rehabilitation program also will move into the Red Line sector between Judiciary Square and Rhode Island Avenue. This work will focus on
train power upgrades; installing new, enlarged kiosks; upgrades to the automatic train controls and communications systems, including the public address system; station sign upgrades; installation of new suspended ceilings at the underground stations, air conditioning and ventilation equipment rehabilitation and replacement, new skylight systems for the above-ground stations and elevator and escalator rehabilitation.
This is the way things are going to be for years to come: Late night and weekend repairs, combined with single-tracking during those hours to get around the work zones.
The $177 million Red Line rehabilitation program, scheduled to be done in summer 2013, is the first in a series of contracts for all five lines.
While this initial rehabilitation program is designed to concentrate on the Red Line, there will be work elsewhere. This fall, work is scheduled to begin at Foggy Bottom on the Blue and Orange lines. That will include installation of new escalators, a stairwell and a new canopy over the escalators. It's not a new entrance, which would be the ideal thing at this crowded station, but given the number of times those Foggy Bottom escalators break down now, this upgrade can't be bad.
May 21, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories: Metro | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line delays
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