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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.

Friendship Heights-Grosvenor
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.

Moving on
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.

Farther east
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.

Long-term pattern
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.

By Robert Thomson  |  May 21, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line delays  
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Why do they have to single track if they are doing work ON the platforms and not on the track beds?

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | May 21, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

So basically for the next 3 years the red line will be hell? Why not spread the work around the lines so that one does not go through all the pain for years at a time? Are people at metro this stupid?

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Posted by: itkonlyyou70 | May 21, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

The article indicated that some of the platform work will involve rehabilitating the platform edges. In that case, workers will need full access to the platform edge, including the area underneath. Thus you have to stop train service on that side, and likely power off the third rail as well, in order to make it a safe operation.

I'd rather they get the Red Line work done with faster and then not have to worry about it for 20 years (and know that the other lines are at full speed), than have all the rehab work spread out over a longer period across all the lines.

Posted by: SchuminWeb | May 23, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse

I had no idea the FoBo metro was going to get this nice upgrade. We made note of this post over at the Foggy Bottom Blog.

Posted by: jtmeyer | May 28, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

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