Ever get the feeling that WMATA is working on your line every weekend? You might be right.

I took a look at WMATA’s weekend work over the 12 month period between May 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013. What sections of the system get saddled with work the most?


Top 10 sections suffering weekend disruptions. Graphic by the author.



WMATA is undertaking a major rebuilding campaign to bring the system back into a state of good repair. Because of that, many parts of the system see frequent single-tracking or temporary closures. The Red Line is getting the brunt of the work, as part of an intensive project to rebuild it.

But the section of the system most affected by work over the last 12 months is actually on the Orange Line. Because of work involved in linking the new Silver Line into the rest of the system, the tracks between East Falls Church and West Falls Church have been closed outright 10 times and single-tracked 13 times. Those 23 weekends of work amount to almost half the weekends in the 12 month period I monitored.

Work between Stadium/Armory and Cheverly, also on the Orange Line, has also resulted in lots of disruptions on a total of 19 weekends. Some of that work involved stabilizing a section of track displaced by construction on an adjacent property. Other work has involved rebuilding the platform at Deanwood.

Construction of a test track for the new 7000 series railcars between College Park and Greenbelt has also been disruptive, putting that section of track in 3rd place, with 18 weekends worth of disruption.

In 4th place is the section of track between Mount Vernon Square and Fort Totten, which has not experienced any single-tracking or closures over the past year, but which on 17 weekends, has had reduced service because the Yellow Line has been cut back to Mount Vernon Square.

The eastern end of the Red Line, between Rhode Island Avenue and Forest Glen has suffered frequent work as well, with sections holding 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th places.

While the map above shows the top 10 disrupted sections of the system (it actually shows 11, since two places are tied for 10th), many other places faced disruption over the 12 months in question.

A few places were spared, though. There was no work on 4 sections of the system, including between Waterfront and Southern Avenue on the Green Line.

While this work can be frustrating, it is necessary to get Metro back to where it should be in terms of maintenance and safety. Unfortunately, the end is not yet in sight. Much work remains to be done, and weekend riders will probably continue to face the most pain in the coming years.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Capitol Hill. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.