Metro will close a four-mile stretch of the Red Line for 16 days at the end of November, part of a project to overhaul the tracks and rebuild an interlocking where the tracks cross over.
From Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, there will be no trains between Fort Totten and Silver Spring stations. Shuttle buses will provide service between those stations, making a stop at Takoma on the way.
The project, which was first announced last June, is expected to cause significant delays for Red line riders. Throughout the duration of the project, there will be a 12-minute wait for trains between Glenmont and Silver Spring stations. From Shady Grove to Fort Totten, there will be 10-minute waits between trains, though frequency will increase to 5-minute waits during weekday peak periods from Grosvenor to NoMa-Gallaudet.
After 9:30 p.m. every day, the wait between trains will be 15 minutes.
Metro’s warning: If you can avoid the Glenmont end of the Red Line … you should.
“Customers who normally use Takoma, Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton or Glenmont are strongly encouraged to use other Red Line stations, travel during off-peak times or consider alternate travel options,” Metro said in a statement.
Additionally, the shutdown will extend north to Glenmont station Dec. 2 and 3, as work crews install radio communication cables along that entire end of the Red Line. During that weekend, there will be no train service at Glenmont, Wheaton and Forest Glen stations.
Instead, riders are advised to opt for Q-line buses that travel from Wheaton, Forest Glen and Silver Spring stations to Rockville and Shady Grove on the opposite end of the Red Line, or the Y-line buses that travel between Silver Spring and Glenmont, then continue north along Georgia Avenue.
The project will be similar to the type of work performed during SafeTrack, the yearlong track rehabilitation project that concluded last summer. At the time that SafeTrack wrapped up, officials warned they would need to continue performing occasional reconstruction projects requiring significant track shutdowns.
Metro officials, officials, however, insist the scheduled track closures are not an extension of SafeTrack.
“SafeTrack was the most aggressive track renewal program in Metro’s history, and it achieved its primary goals – but it all came with the cost of great inconvenience to our riders,” General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a statement at the time. “Now, like every other mature transit system, we must do everything in our power to prevent another SafeTrack through a healthy program of preventive maintenance combined with planned capital projects.”
For this upcoming Red line project, Metro said the agency chose to schedule the shutdown for the 16 days after Thanksgiving because ridership during that period is typically lower than during normal work weeks.
During the project, Metro will be rebuilding an interlocking, the X-shaped crossover between the two sides of the tracks. Workers will also perform repairs on the signal system, install 800 feet of new rail, replace deteriorated wooden rail ties, upgrade power cables, and replace concrete grout pads that help stabilize the tracks.
Red line riders seeking to avoid the bus shuttles should also consider switching to MARC’s Brunswick line, where they can board at Rockville, Kensington or Silver Spring stations and transfer to the Red line at Union Station.