What Metro riders need to know for Monday

The Blue Line has two fewer trains per hour during peak periods. About half the trains will be eight cars long. (Linda Davidson – The Washington Post)
The Blue Line has two fewer trains per hour during peak periods. About half the trains will be eight cars long. (Linda Davidson – The Washington Post)

As of Monday, there will be no more Rush Plus service on the Orange Line. And Blue Line riders will have a 12-minute wait on their schedule all the time.

This is what Metrorail riders need to know about getting around during the morning and afternoon rush:

Silver Line testing. Though the new Silver Line won’t start operating till Saturday, Metro is testing trains along the line this week. To accommodate the test trains, the other changes affecting the Blue, Orange and Yellow lines take effect Monday morning.

Orange Line. During the morning rush, the number of trains between Vienna and West Falls Church will drop, so expect to see a train about once every 5.5 minutes instead of once every 3.5 minutes. With fewer trains, the platforms probably will be more crowded than they were on Friday.

Between East Falls Church and Stadium-Armory, the number of trains is the same as before: 26 per hour. But if your morning commute takes you beyond Stadium-Armory and out toward New Carrollton, you will have fewer trains. The number of outbound trains on that section of track drops from 14 to 11 per hour, or about one every 5.5 minutes. If you’re traveling from New Carrollton toward downtown, you will have the same number of trains during the rush you have today: 10 per hour, or one every six minutes.

Key things to remember during the afternoon rush: Watch the destination signs on the trains. If you’re heading west, the Orange Line destination signs will say either “Vienna” or “East Falls Church.” If those Vienna-bound trains look too crowded, consider boarding one for East Falls Church and waiting on the East Falls Church platform for what would then be a less-crowded Vienna train. Heading east from downtown, the Orange Line destination signs will say either “New Carrollton” or “Largo.” There will be three fewer “New Carrollton” trains per hour than there were on Friday.

Blue Line. Just as on Friday, 10 trains per hour are scheduled to leave Franconia-Springfield each peak hour, but the alignment will be different: The Yellow Line is up to 15 trains and the Blue Line is down to five. Half of the Blue Line trains in service during peak periods will be eight cars long. If you’re destination is on the far west side of the District, or you transfer at Rosslyn to take a westbound Orange Line train, you’ve got less service.

Because there will be more frequent Yellow Line trains, maybe you want to think about taking the Yellow Line to L’Enfant Plaza and transferring to either a Blue or Orange Line train. Lori Aratani explored the possibilities for the transfer option.

You give up the one-train trip, but you may find yourself on two less crowded trains, while saving time overall.

Same situation heading home from downtown in the afternoon: If it’s a long time till the next Blue Line train, or if you’re finding the Blue Line trains extra crowded, consider going to L’Enfant Plaza and taking a Yellow Line train. The next-train signs on platforms served by the Blue Line will always give an arrival time for a Blue Line train, even if it isn’t one of the next three.

See also: Bus options for Blue Line riders.

Yellow Line. The two trains added to the Yellow Line are Rush Plus, so they will continue north to Greenbelt, rather than terminating at Mount Vernon Square, as the regular Yellow Line trains do during the peak. If Greenbelt is the station you start from in the morning, you’ve got more trains heading downtown than you did on Friday. Heading home in the afternoon from downtown, Yellow Line riders have more service than they did on Friday.

More trains will be traveling the Yellow Line bridge. (Ricky Carioti - The Washington Post)
More trains will be traveling the Yellow Line bridge. (Ricky Carioti – The Washington Post)

Green Line. There’s no change in the number of trains on the Green Line. But riders in central Washington will notice more Yellow Line trains passing through the stations shared by the two lines.

Red Line. No change at all. It’s the one line that has the track all to itself.

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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