Trav­el­ers’ pa­tience re­quired

Metro work­ers face a busy hol­i­day week­end that will cause pas­sen­ger de­lays. On the to-do list: Track switch re­pairs, up­grad­ing ca­bles and fix­ing tun­nel leaks.

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - BY ROBERT THOM­SON thom­sonr@wash­

It’s a new year, but an old pat­tern: Metro is go­ing to take ad­van­tage of the tra­di­tion­ally low rid­er­ship over a hol­i­day week­end to make lots of re­pairs in the ag­ing sub­way sys­tem. The ac­tiv­ity planned for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day week­end is fo­cused on a seg­ment of the Blue and Orange lines, but it in­volves other lo­ca­tions as well. Here’s what you need to know about this com­plex ef­fort, which will in­volve 500 Metro work­ers and contractors.

Fo­cal point: Foggy Bot­tom

Metro­rail needs to re­place four track switches at the Foggy Bot­tom Sta­tion. That’s a big project, and will re­quire the clos­ing of the sta­tion for the en­tire week­end. If the tran­sit author­ity tried to do this job with­out shut­ting the sta­tion, it could take seven or eight week­ends, said Jim Hughes, Metro’s di­rec­tor of plan­ning. Since the sta­tion will be closed any­way, Metro also will in­stall cable to up­grade cell­phone ser­vice and work on the es­ca­la­tors and el­e­va­tors. (The much-re­viled es­ca­la­tors be­tween the street and mez­za­nine are not in­volved in the week­end main­te­nance. They are sched­uled to be re­placed in the spring.)

Clos­ing Foggy Bot­tom splits the Blue and Orange lines in two for the week­end. From 10 p.m. Fri­day through the tran­sit sys­tem’s mid­night clos­ing on Mon­day, Jan. 17, there will be no train ser­vice be­tween Ross­lyn and Far­ragutWest, the sta­tions on ei­ther side of Foggy Bot­tom. Metro will fol­low its usual pro­ce­dure of set­ting up a free shut­tle bus route to link the three sta­tions.

Shut­tle ser­vice

Train rid­ers com­ing out of Ross­lyn and Far­ragut West sta­tions should find the buses wait­ing for them. The buses will be on North Moore Street in Ross­lyn and on 17th and 18th streets at Far­ragut West. The bus stops at Foggy Bot­tom will be on 23rd Street. Look forMetro em­ploy­ees as­signed to guide rid­ers to their desti­na­tions.

Al­though there should be enough shut­tles to han­dle the crowds, keep in mind that the buses are go­ing to be trav­el­ing along city streets, which have plenty of traf­fic lights. Rid­ers who are go­ing to use the shut­tles to bridge the gap be­tween sta­tions should add about 40 min­utes to their nor­mal travel times, Metro says.

Train sched­ules

Blue Line trains will op­er­ate be­tween Fran­co­nia-Spring­field and Ross­lyn and be­tween Largo Town Cen­ter and Far­ragut West. Orange Line trains will op­er­ate be­tween Vi­enna and Ross­lyn and be­tween New Car­roll­ton and Far­ragutWest.

Through­out the week­end, Blue Line trains will op­er­ate about ev­ery 20 min­utes be­tween Fran­co­nia-Spring­field and Ross­lyn. Be­tween Largo Town Cen­ter and Far­ragut West, the trains will op­er­ate about ev­ery 15 to 20 min­utes.

Orange Line trains will op­er­ate about ev­ery 20 min­utes be­tween Vi­enna and Ross­lyn. Be­tween New Car­roll­ton and Far­ragut West, they will op­er­ate about ev­ery 15 to 20 min­utes.

The Yel­low Line will have ex­tra ser­vice be­tween Hunt­ing­ton and Mount Ver­non Square from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Satur­day and Sun­day and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon­day, Jan. 17.

Main­te­nance else­where

Through­out the long week­end, Orange Line trains will share a track be­tween West Falls Church and East Falls Church. This will make room for the Dulles Metro­rail project to work on what will be­come the con­nec­tion be­tween the new­line and the Orange Line.

On the Blue Line, trains will share a track be­tween Van Dorn Street and Brad­dock Road. This helps clear an area for work­ers on the Wil­son Bridge pro­jectwhoare re­build­ing the Tele­graph Road in­ter­change. In those sec­tors, also add 40 min­utes to nor­mal travel time.

On the Red Line, long-term re­pairs con­tinue. Trains will share a track be­tween Friend­ship Heights andVanNess while work­ers fix leaks in the tun­nel and in­stall new bumpy tiles on the sta­tion plat­form at Ten­ley­town. Add 20 min­utes to a nor­mal trip through this zone. Trains also will share a track be­tween New York Av­enue and Rhode Is­land Av­enue while track work is un­der­way.

Satur­day through Mon­day, Jan. 17, trains will leave the ends of the Red Line at Shady Grove and Glen­mont about ev­ery 15 min­utes. From 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., more fre­quent ser­vice will be avail­able in the more crowded mid­dle por­tion of the line. Trains will op­er­ate about ev­ery seven or eight min­utes be­tween Van Ness and New York Av­enue.

Travel tips

Vir­ginia rid­ers headed into the District could avoid the split on the Orange and Blue lines by pick­ing up the Yel­low Line, which starts at Hunt­ing­ton and will have ex­tra ser­vice, then trans­fer­ring to the Blue or Orange lines at L’En­fant Plaza. Blue Line rid­ers who start out from Fran­co­ni­aSpring­field could switch to the Yel­low Line at Pen­tagon Sta­tion.

Trips on the shut­tles will prob­a­bly be the long­est onMartin Luther King Jr. Day, when down­town traf­fic is heav­i­est.

If you know your trip will in­volve a wait on an out­door plat­form or at a shut­tle bus stop, dress ap­pro­pri­ately for the win­ter weather.

The District’s Cir­cu­la­tor buses are an­other al­ter­na­tive for Blue and Orange line rid­ers. One route con­nects Ross­lyn, Ge­orge­town and Dupont Cir­cle. An­other goes be­tween Ge­orge­town and Union Sta­tion. A rider start­ing in Ross­lyn could switch to the Union Sta­tion bus along M Street in Ge­orge­town. The reg­u­lar fare is a dol­lar, and if you use a SmarTrip card, trans­fers are free within three hours. See de­tails at dc­cir­cu­la­tor.

The most chal­leng­ing time for Orange and Blue line rid­ers will prob­a­bly be Fri­day night. Pas­sen­gers might reach their desti­na­tions early in the evening with no dif­fi­culty, then af­ter 10 p.m. face a ser­vice dis­rup­tion on the way home.

Trip Plan­ner, the nor­mally help­ful travel guide on Metro’s home page, doesn’t ac­count for ser­vice dis­rup­tions like this.

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