Metro trains to start test runs on new phase of Silver Line

Drivers along the Dulles Toll Road past Reston may soon see a Metro train or two. While the trains will be stopping at six brand new Silver Line stations, riders won’t be able to hop on the cars — these are only test runs.

Inside a document posted ahead of WMATA’s board meeting this Thursday, Metro says simulated service on the $3 billion Phase 2 expansion of the Silver Line will take place Oct. 3 through Oct. 17.

This test run comes as staff continue to be trained and final safety certification measures are taken.

Silver Line timeline which will be presented to Metro's board on Thursday
Graphic timeline which will be presented to Metro’s board on Thursday regarding Phase Two of the Silver Line. (Courtesy WMATA)

For the safety component, the Federal Transit Administration and the regional rail system’s oversight body, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC), is verifying that all requirements have been met. This includes a requirement that Metro receives safety certification from the WMSC.

During a Tuesday meeting, commission CEO David Mayer said that Metro believes work for that certification will be completed next month. He said and that he expects any issues will be able to be quickly remedied by WMATA and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which has overseen construction of the line’s new section.

“Metrorail determines when to open the line, but they may only do that after they complete their safety certification process, and we concur that they properly completed that process, including any safety mitigations testing, staffing and training,” Mayer said.

Since taking control of the new phase of the Silver Line, Metro has been busy training staff and running emergency drills for first responders.

1st responder at Ashburn Metro Station
The drill outside the Ashburn Station is the first major drill on this part of the Silver Line. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

The six new stations will include Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn Station.

The project also includes a rail yard at Dulles, which can handle 168 Metrorail cars.

Metro is still hopeful to begin service on this long-awaited new stretch of line sometime this fall.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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