Red Line to close in downtown D.C. this weekend

October 1, 2013
The Orange Line is the only one not affected by Metro’s rebuilding program this weekend. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Metro has big weekend plans for the Red Line, which will be closed through the middle of D.C., but other track work will affect schedules on the Green, Blue and Yellow lines.

Here’s a line-by-line look at the disruptions, which begin at 10 p.m. Friday and continue through Metrorail’s midnight closing Sunday.

Red Line. Metro is going to close rail service on its most heavily used line through the downtown core. That will be very disruptive, but Metro has had similar shutdowns before.

Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Dupont Circle and NoMa-Gallaudet stations. In the closed portion of the line, crews will be working on the tracks and on security cameras, as well as structural repairs.

The Union Station Metro, Judiciary Square and Farragut North stations will be closed. Gallery Place will be open only for the Yellow and Green lines. The entrance at Ninth and F streets will be closed. Metro Center will be open only for the Blue and Orange lines. The entrances at 13th and G streets and at 11th and G streets will be closed.

On the open portions of the Red Line, trains are scheduled to operate every 10 minutes between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and on their regular weekend schedules at other hours.

The shuttle buses will operate on two routes. A limited stop service between Dupont Circle and NoMa-Gallaudet will include stops at Metro Center and Gallery Place. A local service will make all the station stops between Dupont Circle and NoMa-Gallaudet.

This is a bit tricky, because the buses must travel through the middle of downtown, with all the traffic signals, but Metro offered these time estimates on the various bus trips: 10 minutes between Dupont Circle and Metro Center, 25 minutes between Dupont Circle and NoMa-Gallaudet, 34 minutes between Union Station and Dupont Circle, 10 minutes between NoMa-Gallaudet and Gallery Place, five minutes between Farragut North and Dupont Circle.

If you’re out late this weekend, watch these last-train times. The last train of the night from Glenmont to NoMa-Gallaudet will leave 41 minutes earlier than normal. On Friday and Saturday nights, the train will leave Glenmont at 1:56 a.m. On Sunday, it will leave at 10:56 p.m. The last train from Shady Grove to Dupont Circle will leave 30 minutes earlier than normal. On Friday and Saturday nights, it will leave Shady Grove at 2 a.m., and on Sunday, it will leave at 11 p.m.

Travel tips

  • Some of these downtown stations are close together. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to wait for a bus at Dupont Circle if your destination is near the Farragut North station. Before leaving home, check a D.C. map to see if you’re comfortable with the walking distances and can avoid the shuttle buses. It’s about 2.5 miles between Dupont Circle and Union Station.
  • The Capital Weather Gang’s early forecast for the weekend includes a chance of showers Saturday night and a slightly greater chance on Sunday with partly cloudy skies. Daytime temperatures are likely to be in the low 80s.
  • A traveler on the east side of the Red Line might be better off transferring to the Green Line at Fort Totten for the trip downtown.
  • For some, Metrobus routes along Wisconsin Avenue or Connecticut Avenue would be a viable alternative to the Red Line this weekend. Use this link to see Metrobus maps.
  • If your weekend trip normally would include a train transfer at Metro Center or Gallery Place, use L’Enfant Plaza instead.

Blue Line. Crews will be working south of the Braddock Road station in Virginia, where they will install new rail ties and refurbish the third rail. All along the line, trains will operate every 16 minutes during the day, and on their regular weekend schedules at other hours.

Yellow Line. The work zone is the same as for the Blue Line, since the two share tracks in that area. Yellow Line trains also will operate every 16 minutes during the day and on their regular weekend schedule at other hours. The northbound trains will end their runs at Mount Vernon Square rather than continuing to Fort Totten, as they normally would on a weekend. To reach stations north of Mount Vernon Square, transfer to the Green Line train, which will arrive on the same platform.

Green Line. Crews will work on the test track for new rail cars between Greenbelt and College Park. From College Park to the end of the line at Branch Avenue, trains will operate on their normal weekend schedule. At the Greenbelt station on the other end of the line, service will be limited. The trains will arrive and depart every 20 to 25 minutes. For that reason, a traveler who normally would use the Greenbelt station might be better off going to College Park, or to New Carrollton, which is on the Orange Line.

Orange Line. Regular service this weekend.

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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