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Washington Metro

Washington Metro red Line Red
Washington Metro orage Line Orange
Washington Metro blue Line Blue
Washington Metro yellow Line Yellow
Washington Metro green Line Green
Washington Metro silver Line Silver


This article is about the Metrorail subway system. For information on the organization, see Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

The Washington Metro, or simply Metro, is the rapid transit system of Washington, D.C., and neighboring suburban communities in Maryland and Virginia, both inside and outside the Capital Beltway. In Maryland service is provided in Prince George's County and Montgomery County; in Virginia, service extends to Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the city of Alexandria.


The Metrorail (subway) system and the Metrobus (bus) network are owned and operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) — a multijurisdictional, quasi-governmental agency. WMATA also operates a paratransit service for the disabled called MetroAccess. However, the expression "Metro" usually refers to Metrorail exclusively.

Unlike the subway systems in cities such as Boston or New York, Metrorail fare is not fixed, but instead varies based on the distance traveled and the time of day. Riders enter and exit the system using a stored-value card in the form of a paper magnetic stripe farecard or a proximity card known as SmarTrip. Both methods track the balance paid to Metro, as well as the rider's entry and exit points.

Since opening in 1976, the subway network has grown to five lines, consisting of 86 stations and 106.3 miles (171 km) of track. The original plan of 83 stations on 103 miles (165.5 km) was completed on January 13, 2001. There were 206 million trips on Metrorail in fiscal year 2006.[1] The system is the second busiest in the nation, with about 700,000 trips taken on a typical weekday.[2] The only city in the nation with a busier subway system is New York.

Washington's Metrorail is well known for its design by Chicago architect Harry Weese. Weese's design is an exemplar of late-20th-century modern architecture. With its heavy use of concrete, and the repetitive nature of its design motifs, it demonstrates aspects of Brutalism, which, in Washington, is also exemplified by the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover Building. Simultaneously, with its coffered groin vaults and barrel vaults, it reflects the neoclassical style of architecture that can arguably be described as the closest thing to an "official" federal style in Washington, as demonstrated in such buildings as the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the former U.S. Patent Office building (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum), by Robert Mills; the White House, by James Hoban; and the Beaux-Arts Lincoln Memorial, by Henry Bacon.

Metrorail network[]

The network was designed with a spoke-hub distribution paradigm, which makes the subway ideal for getting from a suburb to any part of the city, or vice versa, but unattractive for suburb-to-suburb travel; groups have proposed a Purple Line to remedy this. The system is also noteworthy as a system with a limited number of lines that nevertheless makes extensive use of interlining (running more than one line on the same track).


There are currently stations in the District of Columbia, Prince George's County and Montgomery County in Maryland, and Fairfax County, Arlington County, and city of Alexandria in Virginia. The planned line would add stations in Loudoun County, Virginia once completed.

Half of the system, including most of the stations in the District of Columbia, is underground, but most suburban stations are on elevated rails or at grade. In the case of the western Orange Line, the tracks run in the median of Interstate 66. However, the deepest stations in the system are not in Washington, but at the northeastern end of the Red Line, with Wheaton having the longest escalator in the western hemisphere at 70 meters long, and Forest Glen being even deeper than that.[1] It is so deep, the only way to the surface is by elevator.[3]

The system is not centered on any single station, but Metro Center is considered the hub, as it is the busiest station, located at the intersection of the three busiest lines, and the Metro Information Center and Gift Shop are located there. Other notable transfer stations include Gallery Place/Chinatown, which is located by the Verizon Center; Stadium-Armory, which is located by RFK Stadium where the Washington Nationals and DC United play (as of 2019, RFK is abandoned, with DC United now playing at Audi Field near Navy Yard-Ballpark station.); and L'Enfant Plaza, the only station in the system with four lines and which supplies easy access between downtown Washington and Virginia.

Numerous colleges and universities are accessible through the Metro, including:

Since 1999, Metro has run a special service pattern on July 4 to accommodate movements into and out of the city for Independence Day activities on the National Mall. This generally involves switching the southern terminals for the Blue and Yellow Lines (i.e., Blue Line trains terminate at Huntington, while Yellow Line trains terminate at Franconia-Springfield), terminating the Blue Line at the Rosslyn upper level, and sending Orange Line trains to both Largo Town Center and New Carrollton. Since 2002, Smithsonian station has been closed all day on July 4 due to both of its entrances being located within the secured perimeter established around the Mall.[4]

WMATA has a stated goal of integration of its rail and bus networks. In 2004, SmarTrip readers were installed on all buses, enabling paperless transfers between lines and with the rail system.[5] Metro also offers numerous connections to other transit systems and modes of transportation in Washington, D.C.. Template:See also


Intersection of ceiling vaults at Metro Center.

During the 1960s, there were plans for a massive freeway system in Washington. However, opposition to this freeway system grew. Harland Bartholomew who chaired the National Capital Planning Commission thought that a rail transit system would never be self-sufficient because of low density land uses and general transit ridership decline.[6] Finally, a mixed concept of a Capital Beltway system along with rail line radials was agreed upon. The Beltway received full funding; monies for the ambitious Inner Loop Freeway system were partially reallocated toward construction of the Metro system.[7]

In 1960, the federal government created the National Capital Transportation Agency to develop a rapid rail system. Then in 1966, a bill creating WMATA was passed by the federal government, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland,[6] with planning power for the system being tranferred to it from the NCTA.[8] WMATA approved plans for a 98-mile regional system in 1968,[8] and construction on the metro began in 1969, with groundbreaking on December 9. The system opened March 27, 1976 with 4.6 miles (7.4 km) available on the Red Line with five stations from Rhode Island Ave to Farragut North, all in the District of Columbia. Arlington, Virginia was linked to the system on July 1, 1976; Montgomery County, Maryland on February 6, 1978; Prince George's County, Maryland on November 20, 1978; and Fairfax County, Virginia and Alexandria, Virginia on December 17, 1983.[6]

The final 103 mile (166 km), 83 station system was completed with the opening of the Green Line segment to Branch Ave. on January 13, 2001. This did not mean the end of the growth of the system, however: a 3.22 mile (5.18 km) extension of the Blue Line to Largo Town Center and Morgan Boulevard stations opened on December 18, 2004, the first in-fill station (New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U on the Red Line between Union Station and Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood) opened November 20, 2004, and planning is underway for an extension to Dulles Airport.[6]

The highest ridership for a day was June 9, 2004, with 850,636 trips, as thousands of people went to Washington to view the funeral procession of Ronald Reagan, and to the U.S. Capitol to view his body as it lay in state.[6] The previous recordholding day was January 20, 1993, President Bill Clinton's first inauguration.[6] March, April, June and July of 2006 have broken records in terms of ridership, with seven of the ten highest ridership days occurring in these months.[9] June 2006 holds the single-month ridership record with 18,745,046 total riders, and the record for highest average weekday ridership with 747,329 weekday trips.[2] USA Today attributes the high ridership of the Washington Metro and other transit systems around the country to rapidly rising gasoline costs during that time. [10]

Rolling stock[]

Main article: Washington Metro rolling stock

A train of Rohr cars arrives at Cheverly station.

Metro's rail fleet consists of 952 75-foot (23 m) rail cars, delivered in five shipments.

The original order of 300 rail cars was manufactured by Rohr Industries, with delivery in 1976. These cars are numbered 1000-1299, and were rehabilitated in the mid-1990's by Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie and Metro at the Brentwood Shop in Washington. The second order, of 76 cars, was through Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie (Breda), with delivery in 1982. These cars are numbered 2000-2075, and were rehabilitated in 2003 and 2004 by Alstom in Hornell, New York. The third order consisted of 290 cars, also from Breda, with delivery in 1987. These cars are numbered 3000-3289 as originally delivered, and are currently undergoing rehabilitation by Alstom in Hornell, New York. The fourth order consisted of 100 cars from Breda, numbered 4000-4099. These cars were delivered in 1991. The fifth order consisted of 192 rail cars from a joint venture of Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) of Spain and AAI Corporation of Hunt Valley, Maryland. These cars are numbered 5000-5191, with delivery from 2001 through 2004. Most recently, Metro has ordered 184 rail cars from Alstom, the same company that is rehabilitating the Breda cars. Delivery began in late 2005, with initial service starting in October 2006. The new cars have their body shells built in Barcelona, Spain and assembly completed in Hornell, New York.[11]

Metrorail signaling and operation[]

Main article: Washington Metro signaling and operation

During normal operation on revenue tracks (used for passenger services), trains are controlled by an automatic train operation system (ATO) which accelerates and brakes the train automatically without operator intervention. However, all trains are manned with train operators who close the doors (they can optionally be set to open automatically), make station announcements, and supervise their trains. The operator can switch a train into manual mode and operate the train manually as needed.Template:Citation needed

Safety and security[]

Metro design and policy considerations[]


No Food Or Drink On Metro.

Metro planners designed the system with customer safety and order maintenance as primary considerations. The open vaulted ceiling design of Metro stations and the limited obstructions on platforms allow few opportunities to conceal criminal activity. Station platforms are also built away from station walls, to limit vandalism and provide for diffused lighting of the station from recessed lights. Metro's attempts to reduce crime, combined with how the station environments were designed with crime prevention in mind,[12] has contributed to the fact that Washington Metro is among the safest and cleanest subway systems in the United States. [13]

Metro is patrolled by its own police force, which strictly enforces laws against criminal activities. Each city and county in the Metro service area has similar ordinances that govern misconduct on Metro, such as evasion of Metro fares or vending on Metro-owned property. Metro also forbids riders from eating, drinking, or smoking in Metro trains, buses, and stations. While arrests are rare, one widely publicized incident occurred in 2000 when police arrested a 12-year-old girl for eating french fries in the Tenleytown-AU station. In a 2004 opinion by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, John Roberts – now the chief justice of the United States – upheld the girl's arrest. By then, however, WMATA had answered negative publicity by adopting a policy of first issuing warnings to juveniles, and arresting them only after three violations within a year.[14]

Metro's zero-tolerance policy on food, trash and other sources of disorder embodies the broken windows philosophy of crime reduction. This philosophy also extends to the use of station restroom facilities. Under a longstanding policy, Metro allowed only employees to use its restrooms in order to curb unlawful and unwanted activity. [13] Station managers could make exceptions for customers with small children, the elderly, or the disabled. [15] Today, Metro allows the use of restrooms by customers who gain a station manager's permission, except during periods of heightened terror alerts. [16]

Metro Transit Police[]

Main article: Metro Transit Police Department

The Metro Transit Police Department is charged with ensuring the safety of Metro customers and employees. Transit Police officers patrol the Metrorail system and Metrobuses, and have jurisdiction and arrest powers throughout the 1,500-square-mile Metro service area for crimes that occur on or against transit authority facilities, or within 150 feet of a Metrobus stop.[17] The Metro Transit Police Department is the only American police agency that has local police authority in three different "state" jurisdictions (Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia).[18]


There have been three collisions reported on the Metrorail system since its opening.

  • On January 13, 1982, a train backed up and derailed at a malfunctioning interlocking between the Federal Triangle and Smithsonian stations. In attempting to restore the train to the rails, the supervisors backed it up, but they did not notice that another car had also derailed. In attempting to reverse the train, the other rail car slid off the track and slammed into a tunnel support, killing three people and injuring many others, becoming the worst accident that has ever occurred on the Metrorail system in over 30 years of operation. Coincidentally, this accident occurred at the same time as Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th Street Bridge during a major snowstorm, producing probably the worst transit situation in Washington history. The train accident was compounded by lack of availability of ambulances, which at the time were all trying to reach the 14th Street Bridge disaster. [6]
  • On January 6, 1996, during the Blizzard of 1996, a train operator was killed when a train overran the Shady Grove station and crashed into a parked train. An NTSB investigation found the following factors that contributed to the accident:
    • at the time of the accident, there was a policy then in effect that prohibited supervisors from granting employees permission to operate trains manually (even in inclement weather), and
    • the parked train was located on the same track that was being used by inbound trains, instead of in a safer location. [19]
  • On November 3, 2004, an out-of-service train lost its brakes, rolled backwards into the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Station, and hit a revenue train servicing the station. No one was killed, but 20 people were injured.[6] The 2004 accident reinforced the finding from the 1996 accident of the tendency of Metro rail cars built or rehabilitated prior to 2001 to telescope when involved in a head-on collision.[19] A 14-month investigation on the accident concluded that the train operator was most likely less-than-fully alert as the train rolled backwards into the station, on the grounds that the train had rolled backwards for over 78 seconds and that the train operator was at the end of an overtime shift that had been preceded by a night of interrupted sleep. Safety officials estimated that had the train been full, at least 79 would have died. Since the findings of the investigation, the train operator was dismissed from Metro, and Metro officials plan to add rollback protection to 300 cars.[20]

In addition to the three collisions, there have been several less-serious derailments of Metrorail trains, such as the January 20, 2003, derailment of a Blue Line train near National Airport.

Accountability and controversy[]

Since the turn of the 21st century, Metrorail has been plagued with deteriorating quality of service and excessive delays, caused in part by the system's aging infrastructure and in part by lack of proper oversight regarding various Metrorail systems. In addition to the November 2004 accident, other serious incidents included an electrical fire on March 18, 2004 during morning rush hour.[21] The fire occurred deep underground, on the Red Line between the Woodley Park-Zoo and Dupont Circle stations. This caused a major disruption in service that sent thousands of stranded passengers onto Connecticut Avenue, with no good plan by authorities to deal with the situation. Occurring just days after the Madrid train bombings, this incident highlighted Metro's shortcomings when it comes to emergency preparedness.

On July 27, 2004, rainstorms flooded a control room located at the Silver Spring station, damaging electronic equipment used for operating Red Line trains between the Takoma and Forest Glen stations. As a result, Red Line trains were manually operated for two weeks, reducing the speed of the trains through the affected area, causing significant delays for passengers.[22]

With aging infrastructure and rail cars, the Metrorail system has experienced numerous incidents of rail cracks that have required single-tracking (trains in both directions sharing the same track) during rush hour. Unlike the New York City Subway and other systems, the original design of the rail system provides just two rail tracks (one in each direction) throughout the entire system; the Metrorail system has no "sidings" for disabled trains to switch onto. Therefore, when an incident occurs, no matter how minor (such as a sick passenger), there is no way for subsequent trains to go around the affected train, causing trains to back up behind the affected train, resulting in quite significant delays. When this happens, trains are "single-tracked" (trains going in both directions sharing the track on the same side), which, again, results in significant delays. Another cause for delays is the frequent mechanical break-down of Metrorail trains while they are in service (due to the age of some of the rail cars and lack of repairs). This causes the entire train to be offloaded, with passengers attempting to reboard onto subsequent trains, which often become packed with the extra passengers.

Further controversy surfaced in 2004, when it became known that employees of Penn Parking, the company contracted by Metro to collect parking fees at Metrorail stations, had stolen substantial amounts of cash. Metro terminated the contract with Penn Parking, and on June 28, 2004, implemented a cashless parking system, where customers are required to pay for parking with SmarTrip cards.[23]

The parking lots typically fill up quickly on weekdays due to the appeal both for tourists and for commuters from outer suburbs to drive their cars to the outlying stations and take the train in. The cashless parking system created a problem because full, unmanned parking lots trapped drivers who were unable to park and leave without paying $10.00 - the minimum intitial cost of a SmarTrip card via the SmarTrip vending machine ($5.00 for the card, and $5.00 initial value). The burden on tourists and single time parkers is highest, because the cost of the card itself is non-refundable and a single time user would be left with an unused balance of $1.50. If drivers plan to purchase the SmarTrip cards in the station, as signs warn them to, they may not be able to park legally in order to do so. On January 2, 2006, Metro implemented a change in parking lot revenue hours, so that on weekday mornings, the exit gates from the parking lot would remain open until 10:30 AM. [24]

In 2005, then-General Manager Richard A. White led efforts to improve accountability and dialogue with customers. This included independent audits, town hall meetings, online chats with White and other management officials, and improved signage in stations. Despite these efforts, however, the Board of Directors announced White's dismissal on January 11, 2006. Dan Tangherlini replaced White as interim General Manager, effective February 16, 2006.[25] Tangherlini was considered a leading candidate for Metro's top job on a permanent basis before he resigned to work as City Administrator under mayor Adrian Fenty. Tangherlini was replaced as interim general manager by Jack Requa, Metro's chief bus manager. On November 14, 2006, it was announced in The Washington Post that John B. Catoe Jr., the deputy chief executive of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and a Washington, D.C. native, had been selected as Metro's new permanent general manager.[26]

Fare structure[]

Metrorail fare is not fixed, but instead varies based on the distance traveled and the time of day. During regular hours (weekdays from opening until 9:30 am, 3-7 pm, and 2 am to closing), fares can be anywhere from $1.35 to $3.90 in fares. During reduced fare hours (all other times), fares can be up to $2.35.[27] Fares can be paid using either farecards or SmarTrip cards. Under both methods, users need to use the cards both to enter and exit the stations. The fare is deducted from the balance of the card upon exit.[28]


Farecards, unlike other forms of payment on Metrorail, are intended to be used once per trip. Farecards can hold anywhere from $1.25 to $45.[29] When using farecards, one must be able to cover the fare upon exiting in order to be able to exit (the gates will not open otherwise). Exitfare machines allow users to add to the balance of their farecards while inside the system. This allows users to pay the fare and exit the station if they had an insufficient balance when entering.[28]


There are three different types of passes available to the general population: the One Day Pass, the 7-Day Short Trip Pass, and the 7-Day Fast Pass. In addition, the SmartStudent Pass is designed for use by school-aged children. At the present time, passes are incompatible with SmarTrip.

The One Day Pass is used for unlimited travel on Metro from 9:30 AM to closing on weekdays, and all day on weekends and federal holidays. Thus it may not be used during the morning rush period, but may be used during the evening rush period. Riders holding a 7-Day Short Trip Pass are valid for a period of seven consecutive days. The pass may be used during rush periods for trips that would normally cost $2.20 or less. Exitfare machines may be used to pay for any fare over the $2.20 limit. Outside of rush periods, the pass may be used for any rail trip. The 7-Day Fast Pass is similar to the 7-Day Short Trip Pass, but carries no fare restrictions. It is valid for seven consecutive days of unlimited Metrorail usage. These passes are sold in the blue Passes/Farecards machines on station mezzanines.

The SmartStudent Pass is available for use by students in Washington, D.C. elementary and secondary schools for unlimited travel on Metrorail and Metrobus for school-related purposes. The pass is not available in farecard machines, but instead are available at Metro sales facilities and some schools within the District of Columbia.[29]


Passengers who enter the Metro system may transfer between trains for free, so long as they remain within fare control areas.

Metro offers a discounted rate to passengers transferring from Metrorail to Metrobus of 35¢ on regular routes and $2.10 on express routes. Rail passengers with SmarTrip are automatically charged the reduced transfer fare. Non-Smartrip users, however, must use transfer tickets issued by machines within Metro stations at the station where the rider originated, or else pay the full fare.[30]


Main article: SmarTrip

Riders can use SmarTrip – a rechargeable, contactless stored-value smart card issued by WMATA – for electronic payment of fares on Metrorail and Metrobus, as well as the DC Circulator. In addition, on June 28, 2004, SmarTrip became the only way to pay parking fees at Metro-operated lots.

At Metro sales facilities, customers can buy SmarTrip cards for a base price of five dollars, with no initial fare value. WMATA also sells cards by vending machine at select transfer stations and at stations with parking facilities; such cards cost ten dollars, and come with an initial five dollars of stored fare value.[31] Customers may add value to SmarTrip at farecard machines equipped with a SmarTrip target.

Because the Exitfare machines installed near station fare gates predate the introduction of SmarTrip, customers whose cards have insufficient value are permitted to leave the system with a negative balance. This negative balance must, however, be paid before the card may be used again to enter the system.[31] One may not exit a Metro parking facility with a negative balance on the SmarTrip card; the card must contain sufficient value to pay the full fee in order to exit the Metro parking lot.[32]


While fares and advertising provide some revenue for Metro, the bulk of funding is contributed by each jurisdiction that it serves, as well as by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Fares and other revenue fund 57.6% of daily operations while state and local governments fund the remaining 42.4%.[1] Washington Metro is unique among major public transportation systems in having no dedicated source of funding. Instead, each year WMATA must ask each local jurisdiction to contribute funding, which is determined by a formula that equally considers three factors: (1) population density, as of the 2000 Census; (2) average weekday ridership; (3) number of stations in each jurisdiction. Under this formula, the District of Columbia contributes the greatest amount (34%), followed by Montgomery County (18.7%), Prince George's County (17.9%), Fairfax County (14.3%), Arlington County (9.9%), the City of Alexandria (4.7%), the City of Falls Church (0.3%), and the City of Fairfax (0.3%).[33]

It is often argued that this formula places disproportionate burden on District of Columbia taxpayers. WMATA and District officials have pleaded that the Federal government should contribute more funding, reflecting the fact that a substantial portion of the Federal workforce use Metro to commute from the suburbs. Tourists also comprise a significant portion of ridership and Metro provides an instrumental role in transporting people during special events, such as presidential inaugurations. As well, a substantial number of stations located in the District serve these purposes rather than serving local residents.

In 2005, U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia, introduced a bill in Congress that offers WMATA a ten-year federal funding infusion worth $1.5 billion. This offer is contingent upon WMATA implementing more accountability measures, providing the Federal government two seats on its board of directors, and on enactment of legislation by the District of Columbia and the states of Maryland and Virginia to permanently provide WMATA with dedicated sources of revenue worth $150 million per year. The bill passed in the House of Representatives on July 2006 but it still needs to pass in the Senate.[34] However, the fate of the proposal hangs in doubt; in February 2006 in the Virginia House of Delegates, Republican members of the House Finance Committee opposed to new taxation blocked WMATA funding legislation. [35]

Future expansion[]


Approved expansion plan to bring the Metro system to Washington Dulles International Airport.

Silver Line[]

Rumors have abounded for years about transit service out to Dulles and points west either by Metro or other systems. There was even a study in the early 1990s that proposed a series of civil tiltrotor stations as a possible commuting option from places such as Reston, Manassas, Leesburg, Columbia, and other points in the greater Washington area.[36] Like many other plans, this stopped at the initial assessment stage for fiscal and political reasons.Template:Citation needed Light rail systems and express bus lines have also been floated as a possibility within the District or Northern Virginia. Plans to extend Metrorail to Dulles have been in the works since the beginning of the system's construction. A test station was built at the airport around 1970 and was located some 28 feet below the parking lot area[37], but until recently, rail transport there was not a reality.

Finally, in 2002, plans were formalized to bring a 23-mile extension to the Orange Line from near the West Falls Church station to Route 772 in Loudoun County, Virginia. This would mean a mass transit connection from Washington proper to the important business centers of Reston and Tysons Corner, and most importantly, provide a link to Dulles Airport. On June 10, 2004, the Federal Transit Administration approved the first phase of the project to begin. It is scheduled to reach Wiehle Avenue in Reston in 2011 and Virginia Route 772, beyond Dulles Airport, in 2015.[38]

Bi-County Transitway[]

Main article: Bi-County Transitway

Controversy has attended proposals to build a Purple Line, now designated the Bi-County Transitway by state planners, linking Bethesda and Silver Spring, Maryland, thereby connecting the two branches of the Red Line to the north of Washington by rail. It would later be possibly extended to New Carrollton, Maryland, thus also connecting branches of the Green and Orange lines, and eventually around the entire Capital Beltway, linking all the Metro endpoints together, as seen in a proposal from the Sierra Club.[39] This line has been conceived as a light rail line traveling along a private right-of-way for at least some portion of its length, as an elevated monorail, and also as a rapid bus line. The proposal has met fierce opposition from some of the residents along the certain areas of the line (see NIMBY). Others have noted difficulties in obtaining the funds to build it.[40]

Columbia Pike Streetcar[]

In conjunction with Arlington and Fairfax counties, Metro has proposed to build a streetcar line on Columbia Pike in Arlington. See the project's website for further details.

Corridor Cities Transitway[]

Main article: Corridor Cities Transitway

A proposed light rail or bus rapid transit line that would run from the Shady Grove Metro station in Gaithersburg, Maryland northwest to Clarksburg, Maryland.

District Streetcars[]

Metro broke ground on a light rail line in the Anacostia area on November 13, 2004. The project is a demonstration to examine the usefulness of building a light rail line that would help people who live too far away from subway stations by ferrying them to the main Metro network. The line consists of 2.7 miles (4.3 km) of track and six stations. Service was expected to begin in autumn 2006.[41] However, in April 2005, District transportation officials put the project on hold to negotiate with CSX Transportation, the owners of the 2.7 mile railroad right-of-way they had originally planned to run the light rail on. District officials had agreed to pay CSX Transportation Inc. $16 million for the right of way, but city officials discovered that CSX does not own all of the right of way - in fact, the District is among the property owners - raising concerns about what the city was paying for and what it was getting. As a result of this incident, the District has begun to plan an alternate 2.2 mile route to run on city streets. No work has been done since, and no operations start date has been defined.[42] The new plan has been met with neighborhood opposition.[43] Additionally, the District is planning to expand its network with additional streetcar lines throughout the rest of the city. On January 20, 2006, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation announced that it would begin building a streetcar line on H Street, NE, from Union Station to Benning Road as part of its Great Streets initiative. This is the same route established by the Columbia Railway Company in 1870.

Green Line Extension[]

Maryland has proposed extending the Green line from the current northern terminus in Greenbelt to connect with Baltimore-Washington International Airport via Fort Meade, home of the National Security Agency. The link would be built in the next two decades to accommodate some of the growth expected in the Howard and Anne Arundel County regions as jobs move in with the recent military reorganization.[44]

M Street Subway[]

To increase travel capacity through downtown DC, a proposal was floated in the early 2000's to reroute the Blue line between Rosslyn and Stadium-Armory, so that it would no longer share tracks with the Orange line. Instead, from Rosslyn, it would pass through a new station in Georgetown, cross the Red line at Dupont Circle and again at Union Station, then rejoin its existing eastward branch at Stadium-Armory.[45] The proposal was eventually rejected for being too expensive.[46]

Southern Maryland Transitway[]

A light rail system for the Southern Maryland counties of Charles and St. Mary's is being discussed, growing out of the southern terminus of the Green Line (Branch Avenue) and connecting to the rapidly growing area of Waldorf and other towns along MD Route 5.[47]


  • Huntington is the only station equipped with an "inclinator," an elevator-like device that travels diagonally up and down what would have been an escalator in order to allow people with disabilities to use both sides of the station.[48]
  • The Wheaton station has longest single-span uninterrupted escalator (70 meters) in the Western Hemisphere.[1] It takes 2 minutes and 43 seconds to ascend or descend. This record has been held by Metro since 1977, by (in order of opening) the Rosslyn, Woodley Park-Zoo, Bethesda, and now Wheaton stations.Template:Citation needed The longest escalator in Europe is in the Park Pobedy station in the Moscow Metro. There are several escalator "systems" of greater length in Hong Kong.
  • The automated messages of "doors opening," "doors closing," and the more insistent "please stand clear of the doors, thank you" were recorded in 1996 by District resident Sandy Carroll. In February 2006, following an open contest, Metro officials chose Randi Miller, a car dealership employee from Woodbridge, Virginia, to record new announcements.[49]

No passing between cars on Metro

  • Forest Glen Station is so deep (196 feet) that it has no escalators to its platform and is serviced only by elevators.[3] Because of the depth of the Forest Glen Station and lack of escalators, it is the only station equipped with a special trackbed fire supression system and smoke doors to protect customers during a train fire and evacuation.Template:Citation needed
  • Huntington is the only station in the system whose name contains none of the letters in the word 'mackerel', just as there is only one station in the London Underground whose name contains no letters in 'mackerel', St John's Wood.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 WMATA Facts (PDF). WMATA (Jul. 2006). Retrieved on 18 Aug. 2006.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Cite press release
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pipeshaft - Forest Glen
  4. MetroRail 4th of July Service Patterns from Oren's Transit Page
  5. Template:Cite press release
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Harland Bartholomew: His Contributions to American Urban Planning (PDF). American Planning Association. Retrieved on 22 Nov. 2006. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "WMATA History" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "WMATA History" defined multiple times with different content
  7. Schrag, Zachary (2006). The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 080188246X. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Schrag, Zachary M.. Planning: The Adopted Regional System, 1966-1968. Retrieved on 17 Aug. 2006.
  9. Template:Cite press release
  10. Hagenbaugh, Barbara. "Drivers switch to public transit", USA Today, 25 Apr. 2006.
  11. Information on the cars from The Schumin Web Transit Center
  12. Template:Cite paper
  13. 13.0 13.1 La Vigne, Nancy G. (1996). "Safe Transport: Security by Design on the Washington Metro (Chapter 6)", in Clarke, Ronald V. (editor): Preventing Mass Transit Crime. Criminal Justice Press. 
  14. Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 386 F.3d 1148 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (*.pdf)
  15. Layton, Lyndsey. "If You Have to Go, Perhaps Soon You Can Go on Metro", The Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2003.
  16. Template:Cite press release
  17. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact. WMATA. Retrieved on 19 Aug. 2006.
  18. Metro Transit Police Department. WMATA. Retrieved on 19 Aug. 2006.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Report of the 1996 crash from the NTSB
  20. Sun, Lena H.. "Dozing Operator Blamed in Rail Accident", 'The Washington Post', 23 Mar. 2006, p. A01.
  21. Barbash, Fred. "Electrical Fire Shuts Down Metro's Red Line", The Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2004.
  22. Layton, Lyndsey. "Slow Service On Red Line Angers Riders", The Washington Post, 5 Aug. 2004, p. B01.
  23. Layton, Lyndsey. "Metro Hires New Management for Parking Lots", The Washington Post, 22 May 2004, p. B03.
  24. Template:Cite press release
  25. Layton, Lyndsey. "Metro Drops Longtime Manager", The Washington Post, 12 Jan. 2006, p. A01.
  26. Sun, Lena H.. "Metro Picks L.A. Official, D.C. Native As Manager", 'The Washington Post', November 14, 2006, p. A01. Retrieved on 2006-11-15. (in English)
  27. Fares and Passes. WMATA. Retrieved on 11 Sep. 2006.
  28. 28.0 28.1 How to use Metrorail faregates. WMATA. Retrieved on 11 Sep. 2006.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Metro passes and farecards. WMATA. Retrieved on 11 Sep. 2006. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "passes" defined multiple times with different content
  30. Template:Cite press release
  31. 31.0 31.1 SmarTrip. WMATA.
  32. Daily parking at Metro stations. WMATA. Retrieved on 19 Aug. 2006.
  33. WMATA Subsidy Allocation Methodology (PDF)
  34. Sun, Lena H.. "House Backs $1.5 Billion For Metro -- With a Hitch", The Washington Post, 18 Jul. 2006, p. A01.
  35. Jenkins, Chris L.. "Virginia House Panel Rejects Metro Financing Bill", The Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2006, p. B04.
  36. Civil Tiltrotor Feasibility Study for the New York and Washington Terminal Areas (PDF)
  37. Metrorail Track and Structures at
  38. Dulles Corridor
  39. Purple Line proposal from the Sierra Club
  40. Bickering over Purple Line could cause funding woe —
  41. Template:Cite press release
  42. Ginsberg, Steven. "D.C. Shifts Light-Rail Plan From Waterfront to Streets in SE", The Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2005, p. B02.
  43. Nakamura, David. "Light-Rail Plan Irks Anacostia Residents", The Washington Post, 1 May. 2005, p. C01.
  44. McGowan, Phillip. "Fort Meade proposes Metro extension", The Baltimore Sun, 9 Jun. 2005.
  45. NARPAC - Metro Long Range Planning
  46. Whoriskey, Peter. "Choke Point Slows Orange Line Trains", The Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2005, p. B01.
  47. Paley, Amit R.. "Dyson Pushes Light Rail, Expansion of Bridge", The Washington Post, 13 Feb.2005, p. SM01.
  48. Intramural Transit Systems
  49. Layton, Lyndsey. "Metro Chooses New 'Doors' Voice", The Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2006, p. B01.

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