Metro track work on Blue, Orange lines scheduled on two busy fall weekends

An examination of the nation's second largest rail transit system comes at a time when Metro tries to weather an unprecedented season of danger and dismay.
Robert Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 18, 2010; 7:39 PM

The Blue and Orange lines again will be disrupted by a Metro track work project. This one, scheduled the first weekend in November, is part of a long-term effort to stabilize a section of track between the Cheverly and Deanwood stations on the eastern side of the Metrorail system.

Some related work is scheduled for the last weekend of October, Halloween weekend, when Orange Line trains will share a track between the Stadium-Armory and Cheverly stations, causing some delays. But the big impact on riders will occur the next weekend, from 10 p.m. on Nov. 5 through the midnight closing Nov. 7.

During those hours, Metro will close the Orange Line between Stadium-Armory and New Carrollton, and there will be no Blue Line service between Stadium-Armory and Benning Road. The Benning Road Station will stay open.

Orange Line trains will operate between Vienna and Stadium-Armory. The Blue Line trains will be split in two. Trains will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory, and also between Largo Town Center and Benning Road.

As it did during the Columbus Day weekend track project in the District, Metro will operate free shuttle buses around the closed stations. But riders should add 40 minutes to their travel schedules if their trips take them through the November work zone.

In this project, which Metro announced in September, the transit authority says it will make preliminary repairs to stabilize the ground, the abutment and the aerial structure outside the Cheverly station. Development work adjacent to the Metro property shifted the ground along the track bed and caused movement in the aerial structure.

Since the problem was discovered three years ago, trains have been operating at reduced speed through that zone. The repairs, which are scheduled to be completed by summer, should end the slowdown. But before that, there probably will be more weekends of work involving single-tracking and station closings.

Metro also will take the opportunity do other work while the tracks are shut down Nov. 5-7, including installation of new track circuits outside Stadium-Armory, in compliance with a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Tips for travelers

l Pay attention to this plan if you have tickets to events over that weekend. The Capitals and Wizards will be playing at Verizon Center. The Greater Washington Heart Walk is scheduled for Nov. 6 at Nationals Park.

l The free shuttle buses are helpful, but they don't really replace the trains. It takes several buses to hold as many people as a single rail car. Plus, there's the loading and unloading time, and the stop-and-go traffic. Many travelers may prefer to drive to another station, such as Greenbelt on the Green Line, and take the train from there.

l Metro's Trip Planner, normally helpful in getting around, won't help you plan for any weekend when the lines are disrupted like this. Trip Planner goes by the normal schedule and doesn't adjust for disruptions

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