Image by BeyondDC licensed under Creative Commons.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, Metro announced 79 days of track shutdowns and single-tracking affecting all lines. The projects start in July and end in December.

The Rhode Island Avenue shutdown we wrote about last week has been scheduled for Saturday, July 21 and runs for 45 days to Monday, September 3. Rhode Island Ave and Brookland stations will be closed. Metro says they’ll provide shuttle buses, but riders will very likely want to find alternate routes to get to where they need to be.

The second project involves 16 days of single-tracking on the Orange, Silver, and Blue lines between McPherson Square and Smithsonian. Metro says this is to “rebuild the track infrastructure, including installation of new rail, new fasteners, and repairs to the concrete pads that support the rails.” Essentially, very similar to what 2016/2017’s SafeTrack surges did, but in the center core of the system.

During the Orange, Silver, and Blue single-tracking, Metro is warning of “significantly reduced service” on all three lines. The agency says a service schedule will be announced in the summer.

The third shutdown hits the Blue and Yellow lines for four days from Friday November 2 to Monday November 5. National Airport and Crystal City stations will both be closed for Metro to replace the grout pads supporting the tracks outside National, as well as “improving/upgrading” some of the switches near the airport.

And finally, the fourth project will shut down the Yellow Line between Pentagon and L’Enfant stations for 14 days from Monday November 26 to Sunday December 9. Yellow Line trains will only run from Huntington to National and back while Metro does track work on the bridge over the Potomac.

A project previously part of SafeTrack, the replacement of track at Huntington station, has been bumped out to 2019. Snow and lack of contingency time buffer caused the project to get dropped from SafeTrack and it was originally rescheduled for spring of this year. Rescheduling this for 2019 allows Metro to align it better with other capital work, which more than likely will include more station shutdowns to replace several crumbling platforms.

Green Line trains are single-tracking Friday morning during service

Some other repair work is happening now. A press release from Metro issued Wednesday warned Green Line riders to expect delays Friday morning during rush hour. Ultrasonic testing, it says, identified a “possible rail defect in the early stages of forming” in the vicinity of Columbia Heights Station. The agency plans to replace 100 feet of rail overnight Thursday into Friday, but are warning that the work will likely spill over into morning service.

The track work was set to begin Thursday evening around 8 pm and will include single-tracking between U Street and Georgia Ave-Petworth stations. The earlier-scheduled track work between Georgia Ave-Petworth and Fort Totten has been canceled.

Green Line trains will run “less frequently” while the single-tracking is occurring, but the release doesn’t note how often that will be. The trains run every eight minutes during rush hour, but will continue running less often during rush as the trackwork continues. Yellow Line trains will only run between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square during the track work as well.

While only 100 feet in length, Metro says the “complex nature” of the rail replacement work is what will cause the extended track work length. Roger Bowles, a founding member of Rail Transit Ops, notes that the track area in question is in a tunnel on a curve where a “restraining rail” is in place. The restraining rail is an additional piece of rail placed on the inside of a curve and helps prevent the train’s wheels from sliding off the track and counters the physical forces which would cause a train to keep moving in a straight direction instead of following the curve.

Stephen Repetski is a Virginia native and has lived in the Fairfax area for over 20 years. He has a BS in Applied Networking and Systems Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology and works in Information Technology. Learning about, discussing, and analyzing transit (especially planes and trains) is a hobby he enjoys.