During December’s snowstorm, we wrote that the worst December storm since 1982 would (and did) create a Metro system with about the same number of stations as in 1982, as did this weekend’s storm.

This raises the question, what exactly did the rail system look like in 1982? Or other years? To answer that, I created a little slideshow:

This slideshow is no longer available, but you can see an updated one here.

The Metrorail system may have been about the same size as in 1982 during the recent storms, but if Metro has to make drastic cuts to bus and rail service in July as planned, it’ll indefinitely revert to a state far worse than it was in 2005. Sign CSG’s petition to ask local officials to support Metro and maintain our vital service.

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Opening Day for Metrorail.

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Gallery Place opens.

Its opening was delayed under court order for missing handicap access.

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Red Line extended to Dupont Circle.

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Blue Line opens from National Airport to Stadium-Armory.

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Red Line opens to Silver Spring, inaugurating the first service to Maryland.

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Orange Line opens to New Carrollton.

All trains run from National Airport to New Carrollton, signed Orange heading toward New Carrollton and Blue heading towards National Airport.

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Orange Line extended to Ballston.

Orange and Blue are now two separate services.

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Blue Line extended to Addison Road.

Orange and Blue run a strange service pattern (see notes below for more discussion).

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Red Line extended to Van Ness.

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Yellow Line opens from National Airport to Gallery Place.

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Yellow Line extended to Huntington.

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Red Line extended to Grosvenor.

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Red Line extended to Shady Grove.

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Orange Line extended to Vienna.

Gallery Place renamed Gallery Pl-Chinatown.

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Red Line extended to Wheaton.

Navy Memorial opens; Archives station renamed Archives-Navy Mem’l.

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Segment to U Street-Cardozo opens.

Service runs as Yellow Line temporarily.

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Blue Line extended to Van Dorn Street.

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Green Line formally opens from U Street to Anacostia.

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Northern Green Line segment opens from Fort Totten to Greenbelt.

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Blue Line extended to Franconia-Springfield.

Ballston renamed Ballston-MU.

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Red Line extended to Glenmont.

Waterfront renamed Waterfront-SEU.

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Inner Green Line segment opens from U Street to Fort Totten.

Woodley Park, U Street, West Falls Church, Dunn Loring, and Vienna get their current names.

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Green Line extended to Branch Avenue.

The originally-planned system is now complete.

Addison Road renamed to Addison Road-Seat Pleasant.

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New York Ave-Florida Ave/Gallaudet U infill station opens on the Red Line.

Mt. Vernon Sq., Rhode Island Ave., and National Airport get their current names.

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Blue Line extended to Largo Town Center.

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Yellow Line begins running off-peak to Fort Totten.

Music Center at Strathmore opens; Grosvenor station renamed to Grosvenor-Strathmore.

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Two huge snowstorms force Metro to stop all above-ground service.

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Our current (fair weather) service pattern.

Notes on the maps:

Most of the data comes from the excellent nycsubway.org timeline of the Washington Metro. I tried to identify the dates of station renamings from Wikipedia’s pages on individual stations and other online sources. To keep the number of maps manageable, and because many stations’ exact renaming dates are not available, I grouped station renamings in with the next major service change.

We know that around 1982, Orange and Blue trains operated a strange service pattern where Orange trains ran to New Carrollton, then turned around as Blue trains to run to National Airport; Orange trains the other way went to Ballston, then turned around as Blue trains to Addison Road.

According to coneyraven, this balanced the capacity as the New Carrollton and National Airport branches had higher ridership than the Ballston and Addison Road branches, while keeping the termini the same as their ultimate configurations (i.e. to get to New Carrollton, get on an Orange train).

I don’t have information on whether Metro used this pattern for the entire time between when the line to Addison Road opened on December 1, 1979 until the Yellow Line opened on April 30, 1983; the maps above assume that is the case.

The maps do not show the Green Line Commuter Shortcut, where from January 27, 1997 until the inner Green Line opened in September 17, 1999, rush hour Green Line trains on the Greenbelt segment used the switch at Fort Totten to continue to Farragut North. Metro maps from that era do not appear to show this service except in an info box.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.