The honeymoon is over. The Silver Line is making its first appearance on Metro’s weekend work list. That’s not because of any work scheduled for the new section of track in Fairfax County, but rather because the Silver Line shares most of its route with tracks also used by the Blue and Orange lines.
The stations on all lines will be open, but the rebuilding program will affect schedules on three lines between 10 p.m. Friday and the rail system’s closing at midnight Sunday.
Red Line. Crews will work on the tracks between Silver Spring and Forest Glen. The new railcars will undergo testing between Twinbrook and Shady Grove. Trains are scheduled to leave the ends of the line at Glenmont and Shady Grove every 16 minutes. More trains will be in service between Grosvenor and Silver Spring from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. So during those hours, trains should reach platforms in that central zone every eight to 10 minutes.
Silver Line. The line will operate on its regular weekend schedule, but only between the Wiehle-Reston East station and Stadium-Armory. Trains normally would continue east to Largo Town Center. Riders who need to reach the stations between Stadium-Armory and Largo should transfer to the Blue Line.
Blue Line. Crews will inspect and repair sections of tunnel between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road. The trains are scheduled to operate every 24 minutes.
Green Line. There’s no change in the schedule, but at the College Park station, all trains will arrive and depart from the Greenbelt side of the platform.
- When trains need to share a track to get around work zones, Metro schedules the trains so far apart that they should not get stacked up waiting to take their turns on the open track. Metro’s online Trip Planner is adjusted each Friday afternoon to show what should be the real departure times for the weekend trains. This setup doesn’t always work as intended. Riders still may wind up on trains that hold while waiting for several other trains to get through the work zone. The real departure times from stations may be very different from what a traveler sees on Trip Planner.
- While Red Line trains will be operating every eight to 10 minutes during the daytime Saturday and Sunday in the busiest parts of the line, riders from downtown to the farther out stations should watch the train destination signs. If they’re traveling from, say, Metro Center to Shady Grove, their trains will be 16 minutes apart during the day. If they board one of the more frequent trains to Grosvenor, they will need to exit the train at Grosvenor and wait for one of the Shady Grove-bound trains. If they’re heading from, say, Union Station to Glenmont, their trains also will be 16 minutes apart. If they board one of the more frequent trains for Silver Spring, they’ll need to exit there and wait for a Glenmont-bound train.
- Blue Line riders, 24 minutes is a really long time between trains, assuming they’re on schedule. If you normally would drive to Franconia-Springfield to catch a train to downtown, you might be better off driving to the Huntington station and taking a Yellow Line train instead. Yellow Line trains are scheduled to operate every 12 to 15 minutes apart during the day on Saturday and Sunday.