Metrorail’s service plan for MLK weekend

The transit authority plans major track work on both the Red and Green lines during the upcoming Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, but the resulting service disruptions will end Sunday night.

The Orange and Blue lines also will see some track work, though no stations will be closed and, again, Monday’s service will not be affected. The overall plan reflects a continued evolution of the transit rebuilding program, which in the past has seized almost every opportunity to extend work through a three-day weekend.

Metro 7000 series car Metro plans to work on the test track for the 7000 series rail cars. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

These are the line by line details for the work. In all cases but the Green Line project, the disruptions begin at 10 p.m. Friday and end when rail system closes at midnight Sunday. The Green Line project affects service on Saturday and Sunday only.

Red Line. Crews will be working on the tracks, third rail and tunnel between Woodley Park and Metro Center. The Farragut North and Dupont Circle stations will be closed. At Gallery Place, all Red Line trains will board from the Glenmont platform.

Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Woodley Park and Metro Center. The buses will operate on express and local routes. The express will go nonstop between Woodley Park and Metro Center, a trip that will take about 20 minutes. The local will include stops at Dupont Circle and Farragut North. The trip between each station will take about 10 minutes.

Trains will operate about every 10 minutes during the daytime between Shady Grove and Woodley Park, and about every 15 to 20 minutes at other times. The trains between Metro Center and Glenmont will operate about every 15 minutes, but between Union Station and Silver Spring extra trains will be in service between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. So in that zone, trains should reach platforms about every eight minutes.

Orange Line. Crews will work on the tracks and tunnel between Foggy Bottom and Court House. Through the weekend, trains will operate every 20 minutes.

Blue Line. Trains will operate every 20 minutes as crews work on the tracks and tunnel between Foggy Bottom and Arlington Cemetery, and install fencing and lighting between Braddock Road and Van Dorn Street.

Green Line. Metro again is working on the new rail car test track between College Park and Greenbelt. The Greenbelt Metrorail station will be closed Saturday and Sunday. Buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and College Park, a trip that should take about 15 minutes. On the rest of the line, trains will operate on their normal weekend schedule, which ranges from 12 to 20 minutes apart, depending on the time of day.

This disruption is something to keep in mind if you plan to take the B30 bus between the Greenbelt station and Baltimore Washington International Marshall Airport on Saturday or Sunday. Other riders who might normally park at Greenbelt might prefer to park instead at the College Park station or at the Orange Line’s New Carrollton station this weekend.

MLK Day
On the Monday holiday, Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. and close at midnight, as it does on regular weekdays. But trains will operate on a Saturday schedule on all lines, so they will be less frequent than on other weekdays. (Metro is trying to adjust its holiday schedules to match the ridership. Commuters have complained that not everyone is a federal employee and off on the major holidays.) Parking at the lots and garages operated by Metro will be free on the holiday.

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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Debbi Wilgoren · January 14, 2014