Category Archives: Transit in D.C.

Silver Line progress report: 42

Lori Aratani has an update on Phase 2: design and construction 67% complete, and the project is two years from “substantial completion.” Come Phase 2 in 2020, I will miss boarding at the terminus in the morning, but presumably I will be jostling with fewer people on the platform for a seat.

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Retirement

Don’t go up that green ramp, #1115!

The first of Metro’s 1000-series cars is taken out of service, to live on a nice farm.

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Silver Line progress report: 41

This week, crews will be blasting rock at the future site of the Loudoun County yards near the Silver Line terminus. Boom.

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Going

Meanwhile, on 15 March, Metro will start removing revenue-service 1000-series cars from the line and shipping them off for scrap.

“It’s certainly the end of an era, no question,” [spokesman Dan] Stessel said. “They have a distinctive character to them that is unique to Metro. Even that high-pitched squeal they make when they’re braking — that’s unique to the 1Ks.” (Here, Stessel emitted a high-pitched squeal, then chuckled.) “That sound you hear as the train pulls into the station and is slowing down, that squeak: No other cars make that sound.”

Greater Greater Washington

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Hopscotch

Dan Malouff rides the H Street streetcar on opening day.

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Silver Line progress report: 40

Sand Box John gives us an update on Phase 2 construction.

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First of 528

Metro has announced that the first train made up of 7000-series cars will be in passenger service on 14 April, on the Blue Line.

DCist

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Step back!

Lauren Ober interviews Randi Miller, the voice of Metro’s “doors closing” announcements.

NiemanLab

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Silver Line progress report: 39

Something that we’re still waiting for: silver-colored line markers in the rail cars’ destination signs. The 7000-series cars that will be trickling into service this fall will be equipped to show a Silver Line-ish hue, but Metro has not committed to retrofitting older cars.

The 1000s and 4000s will be retired in the next few years, so they probably won’t have retrofitted or new signs. But the 2000s, 3000s, 5000s, and 6000s will be carrying passengers for many years to come, and it might be helpful for those trains to be able to show the silver color on signs.

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Brutal in the suburbs

The very first service alert that I’ve received from Metro pertaining to the Silver Line:

On Aug 2, 2014 8:42 PM, “MetroAlerts” <metroalerts @enews.lists-wmata.com> wrote:

Silver Line: Single tracking btwn McLean & E Falls Church due to a deer struck by a train outside of E Falls Church. Expect delays.

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Silver Line progress report: 38

south entrancePhase 1 of the Silver Line is in operation! It comes as a surprise to this Fairfax-centric writer that train operators are still trying to wrap their mouths around some of the local place names. No matter.

Tin revenue servicehe new fare gates are whisper-quiet, but, as at Vienna, reading the green arrows/red blockers in the glare of afternoon sun is a challenge. On to Phase 2 and the airport!

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Thanks, LBJ

Happy 50th anniversary to the Urban Mass Transportation Act, in short, the legislation that made Metro (and transit projects across the country) happen. Martin Di Caro interviews Therese McMillan of the Federal Transit Administration.

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Silver Line progress report: 37

Metro announces that the first day of passenger service for phase 1 of the Silver Line will be Saturday, 26 July.

(Alas, there was no groundbreaking ceremony to attend when construction started, and it looks like I will miss opening day, too.)

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On rails

A good four-part series this week by WAMU’s two Martins on the return of streetcars to H Street N.E.:

Perhaps it should have been obvious to me, but I was struck by a comment made by Ellen McCarthy of the D.C. Office of Planning:

“One of the attractions of streetcar as a transportation mode is that it’s cheaper than rail, and while it’s more expensive than bus, what the experience has been nationwide is that the clear visible permanence of rail tracks creates a level of confidence about commitment to development of a particular corridor, so it’s more apt to produce investment on the private sector side.”

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Silver Line progress report: 36

Martin Di Caro briefs us on the outstanding reliability problems to be resolved before Phase 1 of the Silver Line can be opened. Safety is not at issue; rather, the signaling, communication, and control system glitches can lead to trains automatically stopping, requiring the operator to ask operations for an OK to proceed.

Rail safety experts say the Silver Line’s problems, while frustrating for the public, are not unusual in the world of railroad engineering.

“It happens any time new technology is employed with old technology, and it requires the testing of the system on paper and in design,” said Steve Sullivan, a managing director at R.L. Banks and Associates, an Arlington-based rail design and operations consulting firm, referring to the linking of the Silver to Orange Lines.

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