Metro resuming weekend work on all lines


Some stations on the Red and Orange lines will be closed. On other lines, trains will share tracks around work zones. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

The transit authority seems to be making up in a hurry for all those lost weekends during the Cherry Blossom Festival. The track work schedule for this weekend includes several major projects that will close stations, plus some track-sharing around work zones on other lines, all of which will disrupt service.

Here’s the schedule, starting with the Red Line, which will have the most complicated service pattern with the biggest impact on riders. All the work is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. Friday and continue through Metrorail’s midnight closing on Sunday.

Red Line

The Judiciary Square station will be closed. Free shuttle buses will bridge the gap between Union Station and Gallery Place.

Here’s the really complicated part: The trains will operate in three segments.

Between Glenmont and Union Station, trains are scheduled to operate every 10 minutes during the day and at regular weekend intervals other times. Between Shady Grove and Farragut North, they should arrive every 10 minutes during the day and at regular weekend intervals other times.

A shuttle train will run continuously between Farragut North, Metro Center and Gallery Place. If your route includes these three stations and the west side of the Red Line, walk to the opposite side of the platform at Farragut North to continue your trip.

So let’s say that on Saturday, you’re taking the Red Line from Silver Spring to Woodley Park. You would take the train to Union Station, get off and board the shuttle bus. You’d get off the bus at Gallery Place and get on the shuttle train to Farragut North. You’d walk across the platform and board a train to Woodley Park. In this scenario, you might save time by taking a Green Line train between Fort Totten and Gallery Place. That way, you could skip the shuttle bus, though you still would have to switch to the shuttle train.

Metro says the shuttle train, an unusual option during weekend track work, is being added to provide more frequent service downtown than would otherwise be possible. The location of switches and signals is the issue. If trains had to start their westbound run to Shady Grove at Gallery Place instead of at Farragut North this weekend, it would add significantly to the time between those trains, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.

To make the shuttle bus connections, the last train from Glenmont to Union Station will leave at 2:05 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. On Sunday, it will leave at 11:05 p.m.

Here’s one bright spot about the work: Crews will be installing new lighting fixtures between the tracks at Judiciary Square, which should improve the view for riders on the Red Line platforms.

Orange Line

The Orange Line also will be split, with the Court House and Clarendon stations closed. The free shuttle buses will operate between Virginia Square and Rosslyn during this track circuit replacement project. Trains between Vienna and Virginia Square, and between Rosslyn and New Carrollton are scheduled to operate every 15 minutes. Add an extra 15 minutes to normal travel time if using the shuttles.To make the shuttle bus connections, the last train from Vienna to Virginia Square will leave at 2:05 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 11:05 p.m. Sunday.

Blue, Yellow lines
Trains will share a track between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Yellow Line trains will operate every half hour between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square. (On a normal weekend, they would continue north to Fort Totten. To continue north from Mount Vernon Square this weekend, wait for a Green Line train.) Blue Line trains also will operate every half hour.

Green Line
Green Line trains will share a track between College Park and Greenbelt. Trains will operate at regular weekend intervals between College Park and Branch Avenue. From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, every other train will end its run at College Park  rather than Greenbelt. The train ride between College Park and Greenbelt is likely to take 15 minutes longer than normal because of the track sharing.

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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Robert Thomson · April 17, 2013