Saturday, July 19, 2014

WMATA Will Finally Open Silver Line July 26

Commemorative SmarTrip Card/Credit: MetroWhen I was up in DC for the LGBT Innovation Summit and took the Metrorail train to Capitol Hill, one of the things I noted was the directional signage in the existing stations adding information for the Silver Line.

After construction delays that have caused WMATA to postpone the start of Silver Line service several times, after five years of construction, the initial 11.7 mile $2.9 billion segment of the line from the Orange Line's East Falls Church station to the Wiehle Ave-East Reston station will open next Saturday, July 26.  Four of the five new Silver Line stations will be in Tysons Corner, VA with the other in Reston, VA. where the westbound Silver Line will terminate until Phase 2 expansion of the line is completed. 

After a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 AM EDT for the line which will have Gov Terry McAuliffe (D) and other local officials, the first revenue service Silver Line train will roll eastward from the Wiehle Ave-East Reston station at 12 noon EDT.  

In preparation for the long awaited day in northern Virginia, WMATA will be running test trains and simulated service starting tomorrow along the entire length of the Silver Line to familiarize Washington Metro employees with the new route and finalize the train schedules under real time conditions.

Those Silver Line simulation trains going eastbound from the Wiehle-Reston East station until noon on July 26 will be marked as Orange Line trains with a destination of either East Falls Church or Largo Town Center.  They won't carry or pick up passengers from the six new stations until they reach the East Falls Church one that begins the portion of the Silver Line shared with the tracks of the existing Orange and Blue lines.

The Silver Line westbound simulation trains headed in the direction of Wiehle-Reston East once they reach East Falls Church station will offload all passengers, then continue on the new Silver Line tracks in Fairfax County, VA without passengers toward that new station.

As for what's transpiring with the Phase 2 construction of the Silver Line which will extend it from the Wiehle-Reston East station another 11.5 miles to Dulles airport (hallelujah) and eastern Loudoun County with six new stations, construction has already started on it with an estimated completion in 2018.

People in the DC metro area and visitors after next Saturday's opening will be one step closer to being able to ride Metrorail to Washington Dulles airport and Fairfax County.   Let's just hope Phase 2 of this massive public works project is built and opened on time..

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