WASHINGTON – It’s a holiday week of changes for the Metro system, as the surge that has disrupted more trips than any other is finally scheduled to wrap up.
Here are five things to know on Metro this Thanksgiving week:
1. Red Line shutdown ends after closing Tuesday
The Red Line has been shut down between NoMa-Gallaudet and Fort Totten for more than three weeks, with significantly reduced service at nearly all other stations.
That shutdown is scheduled to end in time for Wednesday morning’s rush hour.
During the work, crews aimed to fix crumbling concrete around the Rhode Island Avenue Station and switch out the most basic parts of the tracks to improve conditions there.
2. Monday and Tuesday still require big workarounds and an eye on extended rush hour parking rules
For Red Line riders, backup options around the track work include a number of bus routes, MARC trains, biking to work, the Yellow or Green lines, and, in some cases, driving.
Rail shuttle buses can add a very significant amount of time to trips, and many riders have not found them to be the best choice.
Drivers need to watch extended rush-hour parking rules in Silver Spring and D.C. The District’s extended hours continue even after the surge ends.
Montgomery County’s temporary daytime parking restrictions in Silver Spring end at 8 p.m. Tuesday, and are not scheduled to apply on Wednesday. Those extended restrictions have been in place along Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road.
3. Leave extra time even after Red Line shut down ends for busiest days of year at Union Station
Tuesday and Wednesday are among the busiest days of the year for Amtrak, as Thanksgiving crowds pack in on the Northeast Corridor (Thanksgiving Sunday is the other day in the top three).
On Tuesday, riders trying to get to Union Station will face the reduced Red Line service due to the 24/7 track work.
On Wednesday, there is no scheduled rush hour work during the getaway, but the expected crowds at Union Station mean riders are likely best off leaving extra time anyway.
On Sunday, more limited weekend service levels could make crowding even more significant.
There could also be additional crowding around Reagan National Airport, where speed restrictions remain in place as part of worker safety measures.
The next 24/7 work zone begins Monday after Thanksgiving.
4. There are other ways to Union Station or airports to avoid the biggest issues
Aside from taxis, Uber, Lyft and similar options, riders headed to Union Station from areas in Northeast beyond NoMa-Gallaudet who would usually use the Red Line, can consider a number of bus routes like the 80 Metrobus which runs from Fort Totten, past Brookland-Catholic University and down North Capitol Street, or the D8 Metrobus that runs past Rhode Island Avenue. Travelers without too much luggage could consider walking or biking as well.
Metrorail is likely the best option for many people flying out of Reagan National, but there is also access on foot from the Mt. Vernon Trail. The walk is about a mile from Crystal City. The rush of drop offs and pickups at the airport can lead to traffic jams for drivers.
For flights out of Dulles, options include the 5A Metrobus that stops at L’Enfant Plaza, Rosslyn, Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, and the Airport; the Fairfax Connector; or private airport buses from the end of the Silver Line at Wiehle-Reston East.
At BWI Marshall Airport, MARC trains drop riders to a shuttle to the ticket counters. The B30 Metrobus (which could be scrapped next year) runs from the Greenbelt Metro station. The Light Rail runs from Baltimore.
5. Metro closes at midnight Skins fans
Before Thanksgiving, FedEx Field hosts Sunday Night Football. Fans who plan to stay for the whole game will almost certainly miss the last trains of the night.
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld decided this spring to no longer allow late closings or early openings of the system, and to shut down the system at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
For football fans, that means the final trains of the night are scheduled to leave Largo Town Center at 11:11 p.m. for Wiehle-Reston East and at 11:24 p.m. for Franconia-Springfield. The trains leave Morgan Boulevard a few minutes later.
The Redskins suggest paying the fans for parking or using services like cabs, Uber or Lyft to get home.