For Veterans Day show, Metro to close one line, expand others

WASHINGTON — The Veterans Day crowd on the National Mall this year may dwarf a typical Fourth of July gathering and look more like an inauguration — minus a few warm layers.

To accommodate a crowd projected to reach the hundreds of thousands, Metro has shuffled its schedule and planned for a one-day closure of Blue Line service.

“The benefit is that we’re able to provide longer trains and much more frequent service on all of the other lines,” says Dan Stessel, a Metro spokesman.

With no Blue Line service, train cars will be sent to the other five lines to add capacity.

Trains leaving Franconia-Springfield will operate as Yellow Line trains, providing more direct service to the National Mall without a need to transfer.

NBC Washington first reported the schedule change.

On the National Mall, the Concert of Valor will feature Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood and Eminem, among others, to honor America’s veterans and their families. The concert has been granted a permit for up to 800,000 people.

On a typical Veterans Day, Metro would operate a schedule consistent with Saturday service, with trains every 12 minutes, Stessel says. Because of the concert, trains will run like a weekday rush hour, or even more frequently — apart from the Blue Line.

In the hours before and after the concert, most trains will arrive every three minutes. Yellow and Green Line trains are set to arrive more often than that.

As Veterans Day (Nov. 11) is a holiday, many offices and schools will be closed.

Still, a portion of Blue Line riders will have to make adjustments. The switch to Yellow Line service will directly affect those who travel between Rosslyn and stations south of the Pentagon.

“It will require a transfer at L’Enfant Plaza,” Stessel says. “The maximum additional travel time that that would take is 15 minutes.”

Metro has made a provision for Arlington National Cemetery, which is normally served by the Blue Line. The station will be open, and it will be served by a special shuttle train running throughout the day from the station at Reagan National Airport.

Stessel expects Metro to be stay open well beyond midnight. The cost of the additional — and extended — rail service will likely exceed $500,000, he says. Those logistics go before Metro’s board of directors Thursday.

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