News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shocker: First Silver Line Metro Delays, Track Fires, and Broken Escalators Postponed Until Early 2014

Metro Silver Line delay.jpgThis isn't exactly the biggest shocker in the world, but according to an EXCLUSIVE report from WTOP (which appears to be "exclusive" based solely on the fact that they forced a reporter to attend the kind of meeting reporters typically try to avoid like the plague), the awesome Silver Line won't open before the end of the year:

Metro's Silver Line was expected to open this December, but a top official at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority now tells WTOP that the official launch date will not be until early next year.

Sam Carnaggio, director of the Dulles Corridor Project at MWAA, made the revelation during a presentation at the Action Committee for Transit on Tuesday.

"The project from the contractor is expected to be completed by the end of September or in early October, so we're now projecting January 2014," he says.

"Weather has played a role in the reason the date is where it is now and we are confident the contractor will meet it," he says.
Oops. We only hope that one of our Confidential Restonian Operatives' Metro Sea Monkeys can hold out that much longer.

Meanwhile, our BFFs at the Washington Post have penned an epic takedown of the way Metro is managed, making us all the more excited about what the experience on our E-ticket ride to the wonders of Tysons will be like:
LIKE CHARON piloting his lifeless charges along the River Styx, a darkened Metro train rumbled through the Tenleytown-American University Red Line station early last Tuesday morning, its windows black, its destination unknown. Although it never stopped for the passengers waiting forlornly on the platform, it did emit an ear-splitting horn blast.

We don’t know if the horn was meant to scare commuters, greet them, jolt them awake or warn them (gratuitously) not to try boarding a moving train. To passengers, it was just another bewildering, maddening, soul-sapping Metro moment, a quotidian annoyance barely worth mentioning.

Except that it is worth mentioning that Metrorail is a slow-rolling embarrassment whose creeping obsolescence is so pervasive, and so corrosive, that Washingtonians are increasingly abandoning it. Even as ridership climbs on MARC and VRE commuter trains, and holds steady on Metro buses, passengers are deserting Metrorail in droves.

Over the nine months ending in March, ridership slumped by almost 5 percent, or about 8,000 trips, compared with the same period a year ago. Officially, Metro blames the effects of sequestration. But in a region whose population continues to grow, the exasperations of using Metrorail are undoubtedly a factor prompting passengers to flee — in some cases to bike shares.

The comatose escalators; the crumbling ceiling at Farragut North, year after year after year; the funereal lighting; the frequent signal problems; the routine single-tracking that makes weekend Metro use torturous — all of this takes a toll on riders that Metro officials too blithely dismiss.
And that was the positive part of the editorial. But it's nothing a little rad 80s art and some new upholstery can't fix, and that's exactly what will keep our spirits buoyed as we're sitting in the quicksand of the (possibly) sinking Tysons tunnel, the end.


  1. They have been telling us for months that everything was on-budget, ahead of schedule, and going swimmingly. Now everything has suddenly turned to mauve-hued crap?

  2. Lie-la-lie, lie-la-lie, lie-la-la-la-la-la-lie. With apologies to Simon and Garfunkle.

  3. I live near the new station and am glad it's delayed as I don't think I can bare the thought of throngs of people trecking out to Wiehle Avenue and getting off the station realizing there is nothing to do. Come to think of it they could head over the McTacoHut for a bite.

  4. Since I haven't worked in downtown DC for over a decade, I no longer need to take the Orange Crush on a daily basis. But a recent trip to a Nats game brought back not-so-fond memories of single-track delays, crowded metro cars and the shuttle bus boogie. Glad that I now stick to my private auto...Metro doesn't go anywhere that I want to go.

    1. JM, I am 0-for-4 trying to use Metro on weekends. 1-for-2 on weekdays. Season ticket holder to The Shakespeare Theater. There's a metro stop one block from the theater. I drive.

      Even the Washington Post admits Metro is losing riders because it just doesn't freakin' work!


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