Metro Ups and Downs

Robert sends the photo above last night during the power outage at the Ballston Metro.

In happier news metro writes: “Check out our newest escalator at Union Station! We’re working on replacing its neighbor next.”


And in coming this summer: “Enhanced maintenance work during Summer 2023 to focus on customer and reliability upgrades to modernize”


“Metro announced today that system maintenance and modernization – including rail replacement, fiber optic cable installation, improved station facilities, and upgraded customer information – will be the focus of enhanced work completed during Summer 2023.  

Metro has used the lower ridership months in the summer to advance large maintenance and infrastructure projects with significant customer impacts. By working closely with local jurisdictions, providing extensive free shuttle bus operations, and deploying comprehensive communications and outreach activities, Metro places significant effort to minimize the disruption to customers and the region.  

“Continued maintenance work is essential to safe and reliable rail service,” said Andy Off, Executive Vice President of Infrastructure. “We are working strategically to target maintenance locations and minimize the impacts on customers as we conduct this critical work to upgrade systems, improve reliability, and modernize station facilities.” 

Building on new maintenance data and previous experience, Metro’s Infrastructure team is finalizing an aggressive Summer 2023 work plan to advance five major projects to improve rail service reliability and modernize rail systems and facilities for customers.  

Complete station roofing project on the Orange Line in coordination with PEPCO 
Replace 30 miles of steel rail in the area most susceptible to breakage
Install fiber-optic cable to modernize communications and enable technology to increase work time during non-passenger hours  
Modernize customer information displays on platforms in the downtown transfer stations  
Begin escalator replacement and elevator rehabilitation at the Dupont Circle Station north entrance (located at Q St. and Connecticut Ave.) 

The work requires four service disruptions to be staged as follows: 

May 12 – May 22 

Orange Line 10-day Single Tracking from Stadium-Armory to Cheverly stations 

Station roofing work to be completed at Minnesota Ave, Deanwood, and Cheverly stations. The work requires de-energizing PEPCO power transmission lines that run above the stations.  

Metro and PEPCO reached an agreement to conduct the work in the spring when power use is lower than in the summer and winter months. During the Summer 2022 shutdown in this area, all work that could be done safely without de-energizing PEPCO’s power lines was completed to minimize the remaining impacts. 

June 3 – June 26 

Orange Line Silver Line 23-day Shutdown from Ballston to McLean and Vienna stations 

June 27 – July 17 

Orange Line Shutdown continues from West Falls Church to Vienna stations for an additional 21 days 

This shutdown will be conducted in two phases to reduce the customer impact as work is completed. The Infrastructure team will focus on replacing 40-year-old steel rail that has become significantly more susceptible to rail breaks than rail in any other part of the system. Metro has been tracking rail breaks in the system to identify priority locations for replacement and has determined the rail in this stretch of track to be a top priority. 

In addition, teams will be upgrading old copper cables to fiber-optic cable to modernize the system, including advanced radio, signal, and train communication technology.   

July 22 – Sept. 4 

Green Line 44-day Shutdown from Fort Totten to Greenbelt  

This shutdown will also focus on the completion of fiber-optic cable installation to improve rail system technologies. This extended shutdown will move aggressively to complete radio and signal projects that require new fiber-optic cables and introduce technologies that will enable more work time during non-passenger hours. While Green Line customers in this location experienced a recent summer shutdown for station improvements, the installation of fiberoptics was unable to be addressed at that time due to the use of the tracks to move equipment.  

In addition to the shutdowns mentioned above, Metro will advance two projects to modernize stations and make customer improvements:   

New passenger information displays will be installed at three downtown transfer stations: Metro Center, Gallery Place, and L’Enfant stations.  
The installation of three new escalators and a newly rehabilitated elevator at ridership Circle’s north entrance, located at Dupont St. and Connecticut Ave., will begin in late July or early August. The project will be completed in two phases. During the first phase, one elevator and one escalator will be replaced (leaving two escalators in operations – one up and one down). During the second phase, the two remaining escalators will be replaced (leaving one brand new escalator running up and a newly rehabbed elevator operating with twice the capacity of the old elevator). 

The installation of a canopy to protect the station’s north entrance and escalator system from the elements was recently completed. Unfortunately, the elevator work could not be addressed concurrently with the canopy work. The escalator and elevator work beginning this summer will result in a completely new and protected entrance for customers.  

Today’s announcement comes about four months before single tracking on the Orange Line is set to begin. Metro is working closely with regional partners to establish travel alternatives and deploy a customer information and engagement plan before the shutdowns. Additional information will be released in advance of the work to provide adequate time for customers to plan their travel during the disruptions.”

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