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WASHINGTON – Metro will continue with scheduled maintenance this weekend, despite pleas to put it on hold due to a number of local events.
“It’s gonna be a very busy weekend and its gonna be a real hassle for people to try to get downtown,” says Tina Slater, president of the Action Committee for Transit.
Her group, which advocates for better public transportation, has called on Metro to rethink the work schedule since the weekend events include the Capitals hosting the Rangers, the Nationals hosting rival the Phillies and the weekend-long Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
In response, Metro will add trains to the busy Green and Red lines that will move a majority of the crowds from the events.
“With trains running only once every 24 minutes on most of the Red Line, and four stations shut on the Green Line, the system will not be able to meet the need for its services,” Slater wrote in a letter to Metro General Manager Richard Sarles.
“No transportation agency in this area would inconvenience drivers in a similar way for non-emergency maintenance,” Slater wrote.
Not only would it be costly to reschedule, Metro says, but it could change maintenance schedules for future weekends, which could have an even bigger impact on riders.
Dan Stessel, spokesman for Metro, puts the timetable into perspective, “What’s important for everyone to understand is that we are in the process of rebuilding the system. This is not routine track maintenance, this is actual rebuilding of the system to improve safety and reliability. It’s critical work.”
And keeping on the schedule is necessary for meeting NTSB-issued deadlines, according to Stessel.
“This weekend, is critical for getting guarded No. 8 switch project, which is a the NTSB recommendation, done by Memorial Day,” Stessel says. “We need the Memorial Day weekend, as a three day weekend, to get things done. So if work doesn’t happen this weekend, Memorial Day is in jeopardy and everything gets pushed back months.”
Here’s a look at the upcoming weekend track work:
Free shuttle buses will replace Green Line trains between Greenbelt and Fort Totten to allow for NTSB-recommended switch replacement. The following 4 stations will be closed:
Prince George’s Plaza
Green Line trains will operate normally between Fort Totten and Branch Avenue. Customers using shuttle bus services should add 20 minutes to their travel time.
Due to Green Line track work, Yellow Line trains will operate between Mt. Vernon Square and Huntington only.
Trains will single track through two work areas:
Between Forest Glen and Takoma to allow for platform reconstruction at Takoma and Fort Totten stations, as well as fiber optic cable installation.
Between Van Ness and Dupont Circle to allow for rail and fastener renewal, as well as joint elimination for a smoother ride.
Red Line trains between Shady Grove and Glenmont will operate every 24 minutes throughout the weekend. Customers should allow 20 minutes of additional travel time. Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, additional trains will operate between Farragut North and New York Avenue only, providing service every 12 minutes in the downtown core.
Trains will single track between Eastern Market and Stadium Armory to allow for track maintenance, insulator renewal, station dome repairs, platform tile replacement and aerial structure repairs. Trains will single track between East Falls Church and West Falls Church to allow for testing associated with future Silver Line service. Throughout the weekend, Orange Line trains will operate every 20 minutes. Customers should allow 10 minutes of additional travel time.
Note: Blue Line trains will operate two minutes before or after each Orange Line train.
Trains will single track between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory to allow for track maintenance, insulator renewal, station dome repairs, platform tile replacement and aerial structure repairs. Throughout the weekend, Blue Line trains will operate every 20 minutes. Customers should allow about 10 minutes of additional travel time.
Note: Orange Line trains will operate 2 minutes before or after each Blue Line train.