Metro’s Silver Line extension is ready for final testing and completion after years of delays.
Metro on Thursday declared operational readiness of the 11-mile stretch of track, meaning the agency has taken over the project from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
“We’re certainly excited about this big step,” Metro interim general manager Andy Off said during Thursday’s Metro board meeting. “It means we’re progressing and getting to the point of passenger service.” He added that he expected to begin welcoming passengers by the fall.
“We’re now going to start mobilizing our employees to the Silver Line Phase 2 to begin the testing necessary,” Off said.
The Silver Line extension was originally slated to open this spring.
That phase will also allow Metro to begin working on emergency drills and addressing construction concerns. The extension will take passengers all the way to Ashburn and include a highly anticipated stop at Dulles Airport. Metro has not announced an exact opening date.
During the meeting, Off also provided an update on 7000-series trains, saying feedback from riders has been positive since their return to service last week. Only seven of the designated eight trains are currently being used to fill service gaps and address crowding, especially on the Green and Yellow lines.
Off said trains are occasionally taken out of service due to inspection-related issues. Once daily inspections are more organized, the plan is to decrease frequency on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines in July.
The next phases of the return to service plan are also in the works: “We are getting better at working through this and we’re confident in the days and weeks to come that we will be able to get 8 out there on a daily basis,” Off said.