Metrorail limits Columbus Day weekend work

October 2, 2012
Track work at Mount Vernon Square.
A Metro worker walks  on a closed track during 2008 switch replacement at Mount Vernon Square station. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

The Metro transit authority has some extensive maintenance planned for the Red and Orange lines Friday night through Monday. But the program does not include the major track work originally scheduled for the long holiday weekend.

Metro had planned to close five stations on the east side of the Blue and Orange lines as well as Takoma on the Red Line through Columbus Day. The original schedule for the following weekend would have closed McPherson Square, Metro Center and Federal Triangle on the Blue and Orange lines, but that work also was canceled.

For several years, Metro has been scheduling major track programs for many three-day weekends, but riders have complained that some of those long weekends — especially the Monday parts — are busier than others. Metro canceled station shutdowns originally scheduled for the Labor Day weekend and later did the same for the Columbus Day weekend.

One of Metro’s concerns about this holiday weekend was the potential for higher ridership because of playoff games at Nationals Park. But it now looks like the Nats will open their Division Series on the road and won’t play at home again till next Wednesday or Thursday.

This weekend, trains on the Red and Orange lines will share tracks around work zones from 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing on Monday.

Red Line: Trains will share a track between Judiciary Square and Fort Totten. Throughout the long weekend, they will operate between Glenmont and Shady Grove about every 26 minutes, Metro said. But between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, more  trains will operate between Shady Grove and Judiciary Square. So in that zone, trains should arrive at platforms about every 13 minutes.

On the eastern side of the line, where the work is concentrated, add about 20 minutes to normal travel times, Metro said. On the west side and through downtown D.C., add about 10 minutes.

Orange Line: Trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly. During the daytime on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, every other train from Vienna will end its run at  Stadium-Armory and return to Vienna. East of Stadium-Armory add about 15 minutes to normal travel times. Between Vienna and Stadium-Armory, trains should operate on their normal weekend schedules, Metro said.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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