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.

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!

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.”

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.

Silver Line progress report: 34

somewhat prematureA couple of months ago, signage in existing stations that the Silver Line will service began to be updated. In some cases, the line and its soon-to-be terminus are already identified, as here at East Falls Church, which is where it will join the Orange Line.

ready to unwrapElsewhere, signs are temporarily covered in Metro-brown wrappings (I suspect at underground stations where the adhesive isn’t exposed to the elements). But you can just pick out the “East” part of the station name, thanks to the bright light of my camera’s flash.

Silver Line progress report: 32

coming soon to your towninadvertent selfieSandbox John gave me the tip that signage was in place at the Wiehle station. The typography appears to be a mix of the heavier-weight Helvetica that has been used in the system from the start (over the station entrance) and a lighter weight on the pylon. I’m also seeing this fresh-looking lighter weight in new platform location signs along the Blue and Orange Lines downtown; the signs set aside empty space for the Silver Line route information to be added when the Line goes live.

John also reports:

The north end of the pedestrian bridge at the Wiehle-Reston East station is a little interesting. It just ends at the corner of the plaza of the Comstock Partners Reston Station property. No sloping canopy like at the bottom of the escalators at the entrance pavilions. There also is no entrance pylon marking its purpose. Adjacent to the end of the pedestrian bridge is a set of stairs that descend to the loading dock access road to the buildings that have not been built yet. Not sure why it is there, best guess is it there to allow access to the north side of the station from the location where the fire trucks would connect fire hoses from the fire hydrant to the dry standpipe.