As blossom crowds fade, Metro will renew track work

The four-week break from Metrorail’s track work program is over. This coming weekend, crews will work on four lines, with some stations closed.

Metro 7000 series car
Metro plans to test the 7000 series cars on the Green Line, but that affects Saturday service only. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

Metro temporarily suspends the program each spring during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, when ridership blossoms along with the cherry trees. The transit authority reported a surge in ridership this past weekend.

Riders took 638,474 trips on Saturday. Metro said that was the highest Saturday ridership since the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (the Stephen Colbert/Jon Stewart event) on Oct. 30, 2010. On Sunday, 405,154 trips were taken, for the highest Sunday total since July 4, 2010.

Here’s what’s coming this weekend.

Orange Line. Crews will work on the tunnel at Stadium-Armory and also will continue the platform rebuilding at Minnesota Avenue. The Minnesota Avenue and Deanwood stations will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through midnight Sunday.

Trains will operate every 15 minutes between Vienna and Stadium-Armory and between New Carrollton and Cheverly. Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly. The buses will operate on express and local routes. The express will stop only at Stadium-Armory and Cheverly, a trip that should take about 25 minutes. The local will make all stops. The trips between each stop should take about 10 minutes each.

The last Orange Line train of the night from New Carrollton will leave 27 minutes earlier than normal to make the connection to the last shuttle buses. On Friday and Saturday nights, the last train will leave New Carrollton at 2:09 a.m. On Sunday, it will leave at 11:09 p.m.

Blue Line. Crews will work on the tunnel at Stadium-Armory and on various track projects. The Benning Road and Capitol Heights stations will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through midnight Sunday.

Between Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory and between Largo Town Center and Addison Road, trains will operate every 15 minutes.

Buses will replace trains between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road. These shuttles will make all stops. The trip between each station should take about 10 minutes, or about a half hour for the entire route.

The last Blue Line train of the night from Largo Town Center will leave 15 minutes earlier than normal to make the shuttle bus connection. On Friday and Saturday nights, the last train will leave at 2:09 a.m. On Sunday, it will leave at 11:09 p.m.

Red Line. Crews will be working on the tracks between Van Ness and Friendship Heights and on the fences and light poles between NoMa-Gallaudet and Rhode Island Avenue. From 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday, trains are scheduled to leave the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont every 15 minutes throughout the weekend. But between Van Ness and NoMa-Gallaudet, more trains will be in service, reaching platforms every 8 to 10 minutes from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Green Line. Crews will be testing new rail cars, but the only service disruption will occur during the daytime on Saturday and will affect the Greenbelt station only. Between College Park and Branch Avenue, trains will operate on their regular weekend schedules. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, trains will arrive and depart the Greenbelt Station every 20 to 25 minutes.

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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Dana Hedgpeth · April 14, 2014

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