News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, August 1, 2014

We Ride The Silver Line So You Don't Have To: A Photographic Odyssey from Reston to DC

It's been less than a week since the Silver Line has opened, and we decided to "check it out," as the kids haven't said for years, to see what it's all about. Come with us on our magical journey!

9:28am. Arrive at the Kiss or Disgruntled Half-Nod, Depending on Your Relationship Status, and Ride. There's a fence between us and the so-called "bus vault," which takes us a minute or two to figure out how to navigate (pro tip: walk until there's no fence).

Bus vault
As vaults go, this one is pretty nice--airy, almost. We feel sorry for the bus drivers that have to make a 180-degree turn in that turnaround, though. We'll take the over-under on the first of those yellow posts in the foreground being knocked over at two weeks.

9:31am. We make it to the walkway across the Toll Road. Wait, what's this?

Seat over DTR
Nice of them to put a couple of seats halfway across, for those who want to take a moment to relax and smell the diesel exhaust as they view the splendor of four lanes of traffic directly below.

9:34am. On the platform. The anticipation is palpable.

Feel the anticipation9:39am. We're underway! The Toll Road zips by on both sides, but our mighty Silver Stallion is (almost) keeping up with 70mph traffic.

A bit of graffiti on a Toll Road bridge spotted from the window: "Bitch-Ass Highway." Yeah, that's about right.

9:44am. Like a metallic chariot, the Silver Line rises into the air, crossing the bitch-ass highway Toll Road and flying over Tysons Corner. The view is.... magical.

Tysons Magic

High end Tysons retail
THE EMERALD CITY, only with better midscale retail.

More wonder of Tysons
GRITTY. Wait, are we at Nationals Park already?

9:59am As our train makes the sweeping turn to rejoin the Toll Road after transversing Tysons, it makes a prolonged squealing noise that sounds like Satan's tuning fork. We're pretty sure that's nothing to worry about.

10:01am. A fellow passenger surreptitiously takes a sip from his bottle of heavily sugared iced tea. YOU ARE BREAKING THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. WE ARE JUDGING YOU AND YOUR SNAPPLE.

10:15am. Getting bored. Time to play Guess That Stain.

Quality carpet10:35am. We arrive at our destination, the vaguely PG-13-sounding "Foggy Bottom." Barely able to contain our excitement, we alight from the train to find... a broken escalator. Metro, you never cease to fail to surprise, do you?

4:09pm. Back to Foggy Bottom after a successful day of bomb-strapping dolphins, or whatever government contracting job we've pretended to have all day, kind of like this guy.

4:23pm. There are a lot of stops in this "Arlington" place.

4:25pm. We check our email, pretending we have actual Important Jobs That Require Commuting Downtown, like 97 percent of the other people returning home in our car, and see this missive from Confidential Restonian Operative "Alexis"--"Alexis" of Silver Line Sea Monkeys fame! Sadly, the news isn't good:

I finally rode my bike over to check out the new Reston Station, but I did so alone. The Sea Monkeys are long gone. Yep, I'm that Alexis. They died like 6 months after hatching. I was able to shake the bowl and convince my kids that the dots in the water were alive and swimming but that didn't last forever.

Anyway, while there I checked out the bus schedule and snap a picture of this completely-not-confidence-inspiring section of Route 507 near Hunter Hill, I mean Mill, Rd.
Hunter Hill
No words -- for the sea monkeys or the sign. Suddenly this Silver Line car has become a slightly sadder place.

4:31pm. Hahaha.

Suck on it Loudoun
Enjoy that long bus ride back to Ashburn, losers! You may have Wegman's, but we've got a friggin' SUPERTRAIN.

4:39pm. Back to Tysons.

Nerds stuck on Rt 7
We've got to admit it feels pretty damned good to be zipping by all that traffic jamming Rt. 7.

Even our phone is getting in on the Tysons mystique:

West McLean WTF
West McLean? There's NO SUCH PLACE.

Bentley and buses
You know the Aston Martin/Bentley dealership just LOVES having to share street frontage with a bus stop.

4:53pm. The loudspeaker informs us that we're arriving at a place called "Willie Reston." Only we don't, as the train comes to an abrupt halt several hundred yards from the station. "Operator dhj gshjsgdhjg," the loudspeaker informs us as the train starts up again.

4:57pm. Hello, Reston.

Walking home
But where the hell is the rad '80s art we were promised?

Someone who (we hope) isn't a robot hands us this helpful postcard-sized map of the parking garage:

Many levels
Clear as mud, only we're not sure which level is for the virtuous pagans, and which is for the simoniacs.

Artsy rebar
We've got to admit, we kind of like the rebar "art." It helps take our minds off the palpable lack of fanciful concrete bollards.

And thus ends our adventure. We're a bit wiser, and definitely considerably sadder, for it.


  1. Bzzt, just so you know, the Metro trains are speed-limited to 75 mph.

    In no section on the DTR did they exceed 60 mph as measured by a GPS receiver.

  2. Couldn't help but notice you carefully timed your journey so you missed both ends of the rush hour commute, Restonian. The "magic" is a bit different when each car is wall-to-wall people... and when it's a hotter, more humid summer day.

    1. The Restonian's objective was to survive the adventure and tell the story afterall ;)

    2. I road the Silver Line in rush hour all week (well, rush hour in the morning, post-rush for half the evenings), everything went smoothly and it was an hour door to door. Since I'm getting on at the end of the line, I always get a seat by the window, open my paper, and don't notice if anyone else gets on before I get off at Metro Center. I've been waiting about 15 years for this and couldn't be happier

  3. Mid-morning time from Chez Scube to Smithsonian via Willie Reston is 1:15. This includes charging our new, yellow "geezer" fare-cards with funds.

    Found parking. Nothing broke. Didn't have to bypass stations on a bus. Or just say "nuts," and hail a cab. Everything worked.

    Guess I'll have to stop calling it, "Silver Skidmark."

  4. Listen, let's all just be thankful Metro didn't name the station Wiehle-Reston Ebola

    1. The Hot Zone. It should've been named The Hot Zone Station. Get in on that branding.

    2. No, it's the Ebola Line. ;)

  5. It's those damn red and blue "rebar" thingies sticking up in the air looking like catv or utility cables that were pulled up thru the ground and left dangling. Gawdawful ugly. Have the "artist" come back and finish whatever it is, please. Probably paid too much for it as well.

    1. Especially peculiar since one would assume that here in Reston we know at least something about real trees...

  6. BTW one of the Wiehle escalators to the tracks was down this Saturday afternoon (hopefully briefly).

    It only took a week...

  7. Loudoun county has a bus? (I'm assuming there's only just the one.) I mean, that thing takes up space that could hold 3 or 4 Loudoun county SUVs. I'm gobsmacked they'd allow that...

  8. I just laughed out loud at your post. That was funny. Well, it's a good thing the metro is finally here!

  9. What are you talking about, R? The whole building is '80's style Rad Art.

    Wait. Chernobyl did happen in the '80's, right?

    1. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonAugust 13, 2014 at 9:53 PM

      Hold on there, Convict. "Willie Reston" may have rad art, but it's a safe assumption that, when Phase II of the Silver Line is built, the Reston Town Center station will have rat art.


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