WTOP track work guide: Surge 15, May 16 to June 15

WASHINGTON — All Orange Line stations east of Stadium-Armory are scheduled to be closed from May 16 through June 15, with additional service cuts for Silver Line riders in Virginia.

The work

New Carrollton, Landover, Cheverly, Deanwood and Minnesota Avenue stations will be closed for the duration of the work.

Orange Line trains to and from Virginia are scheduled to run to and from Largo Town Center rather than New Carrollton.

On the open part of the Orange Line, while Metro’s official schedule still calls for trains every six minutes, Metro said trains “will run near normal service every 6 to 8 minutes between Vienna and Largo Town Center.”

To accommodate that, Metro only plans to run half as many Silver Line trains as usual at rush hour and to turn Silver Line trains back toward Virginia at Stadium-Armory rather than Largo Town Center.

Initial Silver Line service plans indicated trains would regularly turn around at Stadium-Armory, but there were concerns about whether the turnaround could be consistently executed correctly without causing delays. Metro has recently floated turning Silver Line trains around there more often.

Metro added this 24/7 work zone due to significant track problems found along the stretch by outside inspectors.

The scheduled work includes replacing rail ties, fixing power issues and handling other basic issues along the tracks.

Initially, the work was announced as an extremely long single-tracking zone, but Metro later changed all of its remaining surge zones to complete shutdowns, in part to allow for more efficient and safer work zones. The long single-tracking zone would also have significantly limited service.

The workarounds

Metro riders who typically drive to Orange Line stations can consider parking at Blue Line stations between Capitol Heights and Largo Town Center or Green Line stations between Fort Totten and Greenbelt.

If that is not a convenient option, there are a number of other possible choices to consider besides fighting through traffic, including MARC trains to and from Bowie State, Seabrook or New Carrollton.

Since most MARC riders who typically transfer to Metro at New Carrollton will be better off staying on the Penn Line to Union Station, MARC said all May monthly passes for trips to and from New Carrollton will be honored for trips to and from Union Station.

MARC warns riders that trains may be very crowded, and people will not be allowed to board if the train is overly packed. MARC trains run every half hour or so during the morning rush.

Metro does plan to run some shuttle buses between New Carrollton and Stadium-Armory, but that could add significant time to trips.

Additional shuttle buses are scheduled between Orange and Blue Line stations to provide for quicker connections to the rail system. On those shuttles, Metro wants riders to tap their SmarTrip cards when boarding. The shuttles will not charge riders a bus fare, but instead will serve like the fare gates at the station where riders normally enter the system.

For example, a rider who boards one of the shuttles between Landover, New Carrollton or Cheverly and Morgan Boulevard would end up paying the usual rail fare for their trip rather than the fare charged for a trip to or from Morgan Boulevard. In some cases, such as riders who typically board at New Carrollton, that could lead to a higher fare than if the shuttle buses were as Metro has done in the past.

The Orange to Blue Line shuttles are:

  • Minnesota Avenue to Stadium-Armory
  • Deanwood to Capitol Heights
  • Cheverly to Morgan Boulevard
  • Landover and New Carrollton to Morgan Boulevard
New Carrollton to and from downtown D.C., Capitol Hill or Red Line stations

Riders who typically park at New Carrollton and ride to central D.C. should consider taking the MARC Penn Line to and from New Carrollton.

Trains run in each direction on weekdays and weekends, but riders need to check schedules since the commuter rail service runs approximately every half hour in the morning rush, roughly hourly in the middle of the day on weekdays and more frequently during the evening rush hour.

The earliest scheduled MARC Penn Line train to Union Station on weekdays departs at 5:08 a.m. and the latest train departs Union Station at 10:40 p.m. On weekends, the earliest train leaves New Carrollton at 8:13 a.m. and the latest train leaves Union Station at 10:35 p.m.

MARC suggests parking at New Carrollton since there are typically plenty of spaces available, while the lot at Seabrook typically fills up by 7:45 a.m. There are typically spaces available at the Bowie State Station’s Jericho Park Road lot.

One-way MARC tickets between Union Station and New Carrollton or Seabrook cost $5. A one-way ticket between Bowie State and D.C. is $6.

Riders can buy tickets at the Amtrak ticket machines at Union Station or New Carrollton. At Seabrook, one-way tickets can be purchased without penalty from the conductor on board the train (cash only). At Bowie State, MARC plans to have a sales representative available between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. selling tickets who can accept cash or credit cards.

Weekly or monthly tickets provide a discount over the one-way fares and can be purchased at Amtrak ticket machines or online. The passes ordered online can take one week to arrive in the mail.

Monthly passes include free transfers to regular Metrobus, Ride On, Light Rail and the Baltimore Subway.

A five-day weekly pass between Bowie State and D.C. costs $45. A five-day weekly pass between New Carrollton and D.C. is $37.50.

Monthly passes are good for a calendar month, so that may not be the best option for commuters who plan to switch back to Metro when the surge ends in June.

New Carrollton to other destinations

In addition to free shuttle buses to the other closed stations, several regular bus routes connect riders to other Metro stations.

Metrobus route F14 connects New Carrollton to Capitol Heights (Blue Line), Addison Road-Seat Pleasant (Blue Line) and Naylor Road (Green Line) Metro Stations.

The ride to Capitol Heights, where the southbound bus stops across from the station, is scheduled to take approximately 30 minutes, and could allow riders who otherwise would take shuttle buses to Stadium-Armory to get a seat on inbound trains.

For riders who go to stations at the north end of the Green Line or Petworth area, Metrobus routes G12 and G14 run between New Carrollton and Greenbelt in about 45 minutes.

Prince George’s County’s TheBus route 15X also runs between New Carrollton and Greenbelt, with limited-stop trips scheduled to take about 40 minutes.

TheBus Route 16 makes more stops between the two stations.

Riders who transfer to the Red Line can also consider the Metrobus T14 or T18 routes between New Carrollton and the Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood Metro Station. That bus trip takes about 50 minutes at rush hour.

Landover

From Landover, riders can consider doubling back to New Carrollton for a MARC train, even by using Metro’s free shuttle buses or the F12 Metrobus route between Cheverly, Landover and New Carrollton.

Better options likely include going to another Metro station or straight to New Carrollton for the MARC Penn Line if possible.

Riders who need a way to reach other Metro stations can consider the A12 Metrobus between Landover and Addison Road (Blue Line). That trip takes about 40 minutes.

Cheverly

From Cheverly, riders have similar options of shuttle buses to Stadium-Armory or New Carrollton, or a number of Metrobus routes to other lines.

Metrobus routes F1 and F2 run between Cheverly, West Hyattsville (Green Line) and Takoma (Red Line). The trip to West Hyattsville is scheduled to take between 35 and 45 minutes.

The F8 route runs between Cheverly, West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza and the Takoma-Langley Crossroads Transit Center. The trip to West Hyattsville is scheduled to take 30 to 45 minutes at rush hour.

TheBus Route 18 runs between Cheverly and Addison Road in one direction and between Cheverly, Prince George’s Plaza and the Takoma-Langley Crossroads Transit Center in the other direction.

The trip between Cheverly and Addison Road is scheduled to take under 20 minutes at rush hour, while the trip between Cheverly and Prince George’s Plaza is scheduled to take under 30 minutes.

Deanwood

Metro is adding extra rush-hour U7 buses between Deanwood and Minnesota Ave. which could help some students get to school. It also provides a connection to more bus lines such as the X lines down H Street and Benning Road to downtown D.C., and the V2 and V4 buses to Navy Yard (Green Line) and Anacostia (Green Line).

From Deanwood, riders could also decide to take shuttle buses to Minnesota Avenue or Stadium-Armory or the W4 route to Benning Road Metro (Blue Line), Congress Heights (Green Line) and Anacostia (Green Line). The V14 route goes to Addison Road.

Riders who go to areas such as Hyattsville, Columbia Heights or College Park may also consider the R12 route between Deanwood, College Park (Green Line) and Greenbelt (Green Line).

The trip to College Park from Deanwood is scheduled to take about 20 minutes.

Minnesota Avenue

From Minnesota Ave., shuttle buses to the next stop at Stadium-Armory, or the X1, X2, X3 and X9 bus routes likely provide the best options.

The X line runs down Benning Road and H Street to Union Station and on to the area near the White House.

Riders who live east of the station could consider going directly to Stadium-Armory for rail service, or to the eastern end of the free DC Streetcar line at Benning Road Northeast and Oklahoma Ave.

One way to do that would be to take Capital Bikeshare. The service offers a $2 one-way ride or monthly or annual memberships. There are a handful of stations in the portion of D.C. most impacted by this shutdown that could be used to get to or from the Benning Road Metro, DC Streetcar or Stadium-Armory among other spots.

Silver Line riders in Virginia

If trains run as scheduled, Silver Line riders who use Wiehle-Reston East, Spring Hill, Greensboro, Tysons Corner or McLean stations may stick with them during the surge, despite the 50 percent cut in scheduled service. Silver Line trains are scheduled every 12 minutes at rush hour during this surge.

Riders who drive to Wiehle-Reston East who are not satisfied with that option could consider driving to Vienna, Dunn Loring or West Falls Church instead, where riders can expect close to the usual level of Orange Line service and crowds.

Bus riders could choose routes that go to West Falls Church, Vienna or into areas such as Rosslyn, the Pentagon, Crystal City and D.C. to get around some of the impacts.

Fairfax Connector is also offering extra express rush hour bus service between Reston South Park & Ride and the Pentagon/Crystal City area. It runs toward the Pentagon in the morning and back to Reston in the afternoon. Express buses cost $4 each way.

Fairfax County and other regional governments are urging anyone who chooses to drive during the work to find a way to carpool.

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