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Silver Line "Simulated Service" Underway

July 21, 2014 12:43pm

One of the first Silver Line trains travels inbound on Sunday, July 26, during the first day of simulated service on Metro's new rail line.
One of the first Silver Line trains travels inbound on Sunday, July 26, during the first day of simulated service on Metro’s new rail line.

To prepare for the grand opening of the Silver Line, Metro is now running “simulated” Silver Line service to familiarize employees with the new line and finalize train schedules under real-world conditions.

This test run began on Sunday, July 20 and will continue throughout the week until opening day on Saturday, July 26. The simulation trains are operating along the entire length of the Silver Line, from Wiehle-Reston East station to Largo Town Center station, consistent with the schedule once the line opens.

Check out this cool time lapse video from Ballston to Wiehle-Reston East aboard one of the first simulated service trains to travel the line.

Simulation trains are not carrying passengers to or from the five new Silver Line stations. However, passengers can board these trains for travel between East Falls Church and Largo Town Center, in either direction, including all stops along the Orange and Blue lines in Downtown DC. The trains are marked as Orange Line as they travel through the system.

The introduction of the Silver Line represents a significant service increase for Metro. Once the line opens, Metro will run more trains and rail cars than at any point in its history. The Silver Line rail operating plan will:

  • Add Silver Line trains every 6 minutes,
  • Redirect 2 Blue Line trains per hour onto the Yellow Line (in each direction),
  • Convert some Orange Line trains from Vienna to Silver Line trains,
  • Discontinue some one-way Orange Line trains we currently run because they will be replaced by Silver Line trains.

As a result, Silver Line will mean more frequent midday and evening service at 23 stations, from East Falls Church to Largo Town Center, and more frequent weekend service for 40 percent of riders.

About 37 percent of existing Metrorail riders will benefit from shorter wait times, and 10 percent of riders will be impacted by slightly longer wait times. Of those riders who may encounter some increase in wait times, half are Blue Line riders — representing five percent of trips — with an average wait time increase of about two minutes longer. Riders at outlying stations on the Orange Line account for the remaining five percent, where the average trip time will increase by less than a minute.

Read about the Silver Line, in the news –
Fairfax County’s new transportation hub debuts before Silver Line opening (WJLA, July 14, 2014)
Blue Line cutbacks? It’s a long story. (Washington Post, July 21, 2014)