Metro station closings to affect all rail lines

Robert Thomson
Columnist January 26, 2013

When Metro began to close stations so it could get more work done on weekends a few years ago, the approach was so novel that for a time we devoted most of this page to each such project. By now, riders have become so used to this type of disruption in the D.C. region’s transit system that we summarize the outlook for station closings semiannually.

Closing stations to make room for uninterrupted weekend work is one of the transit authority’s two main techniques for upgrading equipment. The older form requires trains to take turns on a track to get around work zones.

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. View Archive

It’s difficult to tell which is more annoying to riders. Track-sharing disrupts the schedule along entire lines and leads to long waits on platforms. But at least the rider stays in the same seat. Closing stations often requires a rider to leave one train, go out into the elements to board a bus, and then get back on a train at another station. When a line is split, Metro often can maintain a regular schedule on unaffected portions.

Four more years

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said this month that riders are in for about four more years of intensive weekend track work before the pace slows. Sarles and other Metro managers say this aggressive approach is necessary because the train system is middle-aged and for many years wasn’t adequately maintained.

The major projects involved in closing stations often require many months of planning, so Metro can put out schedules well in advance. Track-sharing schedules are more subject to change.

Here’s Metro’s plan through midyear for major weekend track work. Keep in mind that even here, schedules are subject to change. Metro officials had expected that many stations on the Red Line would be closed through downtown this weekend, but that plan was revised. No date has been set for another attempt.

The biggest break the program takes during the first half of the year is during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, scheduled from March 20 to April 14, when weekend ridership is likely to increase.

Major track work schedule

Feb. 2-3

Blue, Orange lines: Buses replace trains between Federal Center SW and Cheverly and Benning Road.

Stations closed: Capitol South, Eastern Market, Potomac Avenue, Stadium-Armory, Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood.

Feb. 16-18

Blue, Orange lines: Buses replace trains between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly and Largo Town Center.

Stations closed: Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Benning Road, Capitol Heights, Addison Road, Morgan Boulevard, Largo Town Center.

Green Line: Buses replace trains between College Park and Greenbelt.

Station closed: Greenbelt.

Feb. 23-24

Orange Line: Buses replace trains between Vienna and Ballston.

Stations closed: Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church.

March 2-3

Blue, Yellow lines: Buses replace trains between Braddock Road and Crystal City.

Stations closed: Reagan National Airport.

Red Line: Buses replace trains between NoMa-Gallaudet U and Takoma.

Station closed: Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland, Fort Totten.

March 9-10

Blue, Orange lines: Buses replace trains between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly and Benning Road.

Stations closed: Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood.

March 16, 17

Red Line: Buses replace trains between NoMa-Gallaudet U and Takoma.

Stations closed: Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland, Fort Totten.

April 20, 21

Orange Line: Buses replace trains between Rosslyn and Virginia Square.

Stations closed: Court House, Clarendon.

April 27, 28

Red Line: Buses replace trains between NoMa-Gallaudet U and Takoma.

Stations closed: Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland, Fort Totten.

May 4, 5

Green Line: Buses replace trains between Congress Heights and Branch Avenue.

Stations closed: Southern Avenue, Naylor Road, Suitland, Branch Avenue.

May 11, 12

Orange Line: Buses replace trains between Vienna and Ballston.

Stations closed: Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church.

May 18, 19

Green Line: Buses replace trains between College Park and Greenbelt.

Stations closed: Greenbelt.

Orange Line: Buses replace trains between Clarendon and East Falls Church.

Stations closed: Virginia Square, Ballston.

May 25, 26

Orange Line: Buses replace trains between East Falls Church and Vienna.

Stations closed: West Falls Church, Dunn Loring, Vienna

Red Line: Buses replace trains between Twinbrook and Shady Grove.

Stations closed: Rockville, Shady Grove.

June 1, 2

Red Line: Buses replace trains between Metro Center and Woodley Park-Zoo.

Stations closed: Farragut North, Dupont Circle.

June 8, 9

Green Line: Buses replace trains between Shaw-Howard U and Georgia Avenue.

Stations closed: U Street, Columbia Heights.

June 15, 16

Red Line: Buses replace trains between Takoma and Forest Glen.

Station closed: Silver Spring.

June 22, 23

Red Line: Buses replace trains between Takoma and Forest Glen.

Station closed: Silver Spring.

June 29, 30

Green Line: Buses replace trains between College Park and Greenbelt.

Station closed: Greenbelt.

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