WTOP track work guide: 12th surge, Feb. 11-28

WASHINGTON — Metro is shutting down the Blue Line for 18 days, cutting off connections between the Orange and Silver Lines at Rosslyn and the stations served by the Blue and Yellow lines from the Pentagon through Alexandria to Franconia-Springfield.

The work

Surge 12 includes a complete shutdown of the tracks between Rosslyn and the Pentagon from Saturday Feb. 11 through the end of service on Tuesday, Feb. 28 — the second time the stretch has been shut down for an extended period. The Arlington Cemetery Station is closed for the duration of the surge, but all other stations are open.

To and from Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street, while there are fewer trains scheduled than usual, there will still be rail service. During the 18 days of work, Yellow Line “Rush Plus” trains will run at all times of day in place of Blue Line service. Those trains run from Franconia-Springfield to Greenbelt.

Metro warns many Yellow Line trains crossing the Potomac will be crowded.

The schedule changes due to the work also mean 2.5 fewer rush hour trains scheduled each hour on the Green Line and a similar cut for Yellow Line riders to and from Huntington.

In Maryland, riders between Stadium-Armory and Largo can expect about one-third as many trains as usual during rush hour since only Silver Line trains are scheduled to serve that stretch usually shared with the Blue Line.

Through downtown, between Rosslyn and Stadium-Armory, riders at stations normally served by the Orange, Blue and Silver Lines should expect about 19 percent fewer trains than usual at rush hour.

With trains scheduled every eight minutes on the Green Line and at Huntington and Franconia-Springfield during rush hour, riders could get a taste of planned service cuts that would start in July. General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has proposed reducing rail service to a scheduled every eight minutes at rush hour the ends of all lines.

Outside of rush hours during this surge, Metro has scheduled trains every 12 minutes on the regular Yellow Line and every 12 minutes on the “Rush Plus” route. After 10 p.m., Metro expects trains every 20 minutes.

The workarounds

The largest groups of riders who may need to change their commutes during this surge are likely those who ride between Blue and Yellow Line stations and stops like Rosslyn, Foggy Bottom and Farragut West or those who commute to the Pentagon, Pentagon City and points south from the Orange or Silver Line corridors.

If the weather cooperates, the most direct route in many cases is one of the bike trails that run along each corridor. But while bike commuting appeared to spike during other work zones, past surge zones have also shown a small but significant number of people choose to drive, adding to traffic.

Extended rush-hour parking restrictions remain in place across the District, and drivers need to watch for other temporary changes during surge zones in places like Arlington to make room for extra bus stops.

The only free shuttle buses offered during this surge run between Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery from the time Metro opens each day until about 7 p.m. A number of regular bus routes provide options for riders going to other stations.


Riders who typically transfer to the Blue Line at Rosslyn to reach the Pentagon have several alternatives available.

From the Vienna station, Fairfax Connector is running a special rush-hour express route to the Pentagon that has been popular during past 24/7 work zones that impacted the area. From Reston, Fairfax Connector Route 599 always runs to the Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal City in the morning and back in the afternoon.

After reaching the Pentagon or the other Metro stations in the area, riders can transfer to Metro or to other bus routes. The Pentagon is a bus hub.

In Arlington, ART Route 42 connects Ballston, Clarendon and the Pentagon (Pentagon City on weekends) and ART Route 43 connects Courthouse, Rosslyn and Crystal City.

Arlington County emphasizes that the ART 43 runs every 10 minutes during rush hours with stops only at the Courthouse Metro, Rosslyn Metro, Crystal City Metro and Crystal City VRE. The bus runs every 20 minutes outside of rush hour.

During the evening rush, the 10E Metrobus connects Rosslyn to the Pentagon, Braddock Road Metro and Hunting Point. In the morning, it runs northbound. The 10B Metrobus runs every half-hour most of the day and connects Ballston Station to Shirlington, Braddock Road Metro and Hunting Point.

Loudoun County Commuter Bus suggests riders who typically take the Blue Line to or from Rosslyn as part of their trips might instead consider commuter bus service to and from Independence Avenue near the National Air and Space Museum. That stop is near L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station’s 7th Street and Maryland Avenue SW exit, where riders can transfer to or from the Yellow Line.


Riders who board at Blue or Yellow Line stations in Virginia who use Foggy Bottom, Farragut West or McPherson Square can consider reaching those stations by transferring from the Yellow Line at L’Enfant Plaza.

Other Metro options include transferring to the Red Line at Gallery Place to reach Farragut North. Riders who typically use Federal Triangle can consider simply getting off at Archives-Navy Memorial to avoid transferring, since the stop is only three blocks or so away.

From the Mark Center and Shirlington areas, as well as the Pentagon, the 7Y Metrobus provides a rush-hour connection to McPherson Square, Farragut Square and the State Department.

VRE trains and commuter buses like Loudoun County Transit or PRTC OmniRide also provide alternatives both to D.C. and other points.

Maryland and downtown D.C. changes include Green Line

While commuters only using stations between Rosslyn and Largo or on the Green Line may not need to change their commutes, they will need to build in extra time.

With no Blue Line trains and no additional Orange or Silver Line trains scheduled, there are five fewer trains an hour than usual scheduled from Rosslyn to Largo which could add to crowding downtown on Orange and Silver Line trains.

Green Line riders can also expect longer waits than usual between Branch Ave. and L’Enfant Plaza since trains are cut back.

With a slight overall cut in the number of trains between L’Enfant Plaza and Mt. Vernon Square, riders may need to add a few extra minutes at all Green Line stops and prepare for a bit more crowding than usual.

Yellow Line riders north of Fort Totten have a slight benefit during this surge at off hours, since with “Rush Plus” trains running at all times of day, riders do not need to ride a Green Line train south to transfer.

What’s next?

After this work zone wraps up, work moves to the Blue and Yellow Lines south of Braddock Road.

A total of 37 days of work that Metro is calling a single surge project actually includes three separate parts.

The first part is 24/7 single tracking between Braddock Road and Huntington and between Braddock Road and Van Dorn Street from March 4 to March 26. That work severely cuts service on the Yellow and Blue Lines, including Blue Line trains only every 24 minutes and Yellow Line trains running in two separate segments that do not connect to each other.

The Yellow Line trains will be scheduled every 12 minutes between Huntington and King Street, with another segment of the Yellow Line running every 6 to 12 minutes between Reagan National Airport and Mt. Vernon Square. Only Blue Line trains, running every 24 minutes, will provide a rail connection between King Street and Reagan National Airport

The second part of the work is round-the-clock single-tracking only on the Blue Line between King Street and Van Dorn Street from March 26 through April 2. Blue Line trains are scheduled to continue to run every 24 minutes, again with no Yellow Line “Rush Plus” trains. During that work zone, the Yellow Line is scheduled to operate normally to and from Huntington.

The third part of the work impacts only the Yellow Line from April 3 through April 9. During that 24/7 single-tracking, the Yellow Line is scheduled to run only every 24 minutes between Huntington and D.C. at all times of day. The Blue Line and Yellow Line “Rush Plus” trains between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt are scheduled to operate normally.

While exact dates for surges after that have not been announced, Metro plans round-the-clock single tracking on the Green Line between Greenbelt and College Park in April and May, single-tracking on the Orange Line all the way from Minnesota Ave. to New Carrollton in May and June, and single-tracking on the Red Line between Shady Grove and Twinbrook in June.

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