Photo by PoPville flickr user wolfkann
“Metrorail, the nation’s second busiest rapid transit system, grew 10 percent larger today with five new stations and new direct rail service between the Washington region’s two largest employment centers, all as a result of the opening of the Silver Line’s first phase. The new rail line is the largest expansion of Metrorail — and the first time a new color has been added to the Metro map — since the Green Line opened in 1991.
Rail service to the five new stations – McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East – began at noon with the departure of an inaugural train from Wiehle-Reston East Station in Fairfax County, Va., bound for Largo Town Center in Prince George’s County, Md. Along the way, Silver Line trains connect Fairfax County with popular destinations in Arlington County and Downtown DC, serving a total of 28 stations.
As one of the largest capital construction projects in the United States, the Silver Line has national significance. The Dulles Corridor is home to several of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region’s most dynamic and rapidly growing activity centers, including Tysons Corner (Virginia’s largest employment center), the Reston-Herndon area (Virginia’s second largest employment concentration), Dulles International Airport and the emerging activity centers in eastern Loudoun County. Silver Line trains will provide high-quality, high-capacity transit service that reduces travel time between the Dulles corridor and Downtown D.C., expands the reach of the existing regional rail system, offers a viable alternative to automobile travel and supports future development.
It is anticipated that the Silver Line will quickly become one of Metro’s busiest services because of the draw of two employment and entertainment destinations — Downtown DC and Tysons — appealing to riders at all times of the day and week. Serving many of the region’s great destinations, the Silver Line will deliver football fans to FedEx Field and baseball fans to Nationals Park, entertainment destinations in Arlington County, and nationally known cultural attractions in Downtown DC. About 25,000 daily riders are projected to use the five new stations after the first year of service.
By offering a convenient alternative to driving, the Silver Line is expected to transform Tysons, previously an automobile-centric, congestion prone area into a more walkable, bikeable, livable community anchored by high-density, mixed-use developments around the new stations. The Silver Line gives commuters traveling to or from Fairfax County a new option to avoid traffic congestion along I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road, while saving on fuel, parking and tolls.
With the opening of the Silver Line, Metrorail now serves a total of 91 stations on a 118-mile system in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
The new Silver Line tracks branch off from the existing Orange Line between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. The first new station, McLean, is about 8 minutes away from East Falls Church, and is the first of a cluster of four Tysons-area stations that are each two minutes apart. The line’s western terminus, Wiehle-Reston East, is another eight minutes west of the Tysons area.
The four Tysons-area stations put most parts of Tysons Corner within an easy half-mile walk of a Metrorail station providing easy access to the region’s second largest employment center with nearly 100,000 jobs, shopping malls and restaurants.
Wiehle-Reston East Station is connected to Reston Town Center and Washington Dulles International Airport by frequent bus service.
Silver Line construction (more…)