Bethany Gregory, a field technician with GAI Consultants, walks into the woods with a headlamp to check mist nets for bats, July 13, 2015, during a bat census to make sure the planned Silver Line train yard near Dulles Airport doesn’t impact the bats living in the woods near the site. Fine ‘mist nets’ are hung from polls to capture bats and determine whether there is a threatened bat species in the area. The bats are then released. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)

If you’ve driven along the Dulles Toll Road or flown out of Washington Dulles International Airport recently, you’ve likely seen the telltale signs that a rail line is being built: the giant piles of dirt, the gaping holes, the construction equipment and oh yes, the giant orange crane.

Yes folks, the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line is officially under heavy construction. The first phase, which opened in July 2014, terminates at Wiehle Avenue in Reston and includes four other stops in Tysons Corner. This second phase will include six stops, extending service to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County.

Officials with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, who are overseeing construction of the $5.8 billion rail line, estimate that passenger service will begin in 2020, roughly 13 months behind the originally scheduled opening. We recently took a tour of progress along the rail line, stopping at four of the six stations. (Heavy construction has not yet begun on the two stations in Loudoun County). Here are some photos.

Silver Line phase 2, now arriving in 2020

First, here’s a shot of the three segments that make up Phase 2.

Here’s a shot of the first station after you leave Wiehle Avenue, the current end of the Silver Line


A shot of the Herndon Station, one of six being build as part of the Silver Line’s second phase. (Lori Aratani — The Washington Post)

The next stop is Innovation Station. Of the six currently being built, this is the one that is furthest along.

Here’s a partial shot of the impossible to miss giant crane that’s being used to build the Silver Line. Expect to see more of these along the Dulles Toll Road as work continues.


A giant orange crane being used to build the Silver Line is visible from miles away. (Lori Aratani – The Washington Post)

Moving right along – from Innovation Station, the line will head to the Dulles Airport stop. That giant piece of construction equipment in the middle of all that red dirt? That’s where the station’s elevator will be built.


This is a shot of the Dulles Airport station, which will be just across the parking lot from the main terminal. (Lori Aratani — The Washington Post)

Here is a shot from the aerial guide way. Trains will run along these tracks on their way to and from Loudoun County.


The view from the aerial tracks at Dulles Airport. If you look to the right, you can see the control tower in the distance. (Lori Aratani — The Washington Post)

A rail yard will be built on nearly 90 acres of land west of Dulles Airport. Those woods you see? They’ll be leveled  to make room for trains.


A shot of the site that will become a rail yard for Metro trains. (Lori Aratani — The Washington Post)