Silver Line To Start Service In April, Says Warner – WAMU
The first phase of Metro’s new Silver Line will delayed until April 2014 according to Virginia Senator Mark Warner. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is building the Silver Line and will then turn it over to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Warner says Metro will fail to collect $2 to $3 million in fares each month the Silver Line is delayed. The project was delayed a second time earlier this week so testing on safety software could be completed. Warner says Silver Line won’t open now until April.
A letter Warner sent to MWAA outlines his concerns and is included in the link above.
Of course, Sen. Warner isn’t the one who makes the decisions:
And just for the record, there is no official estimate of when the Silver Line will open. #WMATA#MWAA
Dealing with the changes and with faulty testing of the safety systems could delay the December opening of the $5.6 billion rail extension, officials said.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, in a letter to local officials, said he was troubled by a contractor’s failure to obtain approval for the changes to what is known as the automatic train control system.
The controls serve the same function as those that failed in the fatal 2009 Red Line crash, and the contractor is the same company that manufactured the Red Line controls.
In his letter, obtained by The Washington Post, Rogoff said the contractor, Alstom Signaling, “unilaterally made various design changes to the [automatic train control system] without prior approval” from Metro or the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
Ugh. What were they thinking?
The Silver Line’s first phase will run from Whiele Ave. in Reston to the Orange Line between West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations via Tysons. It seems a 2014 opening is a lock now, but when in 2014?
Once the Bechtel Corporation completes the work and the airport authority certifies it, Metro will take at least 90 days to independently test the trains and tracks and hire and schedule staff to operate the Silver Line.
When pressed, Carnaggio admitted Oct. 1 would be a likely date for the handover to Metro, making Jan. 1 the earliest launch date.
“Weather has played a role in the reason the date is where it is now and we are confident the contractor will meet it,” he says.
In theory, the delay will be as little as three weeks. Having a 2014 opening instead of a 2013 is disappointing, particularly given the awful traffic around Tysons prior to Christmas.
The second phase, completing the Silver Line to and beyond Dulles Airport is expected in January 2019.
On a happier note, WMATA is expected showcase the 7000 series Metro rail cars tomorrow:
Big changes are coming when the Silver Line opens, some of them outlined in this Dr. Gridlock update from earlier in the week. The Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority (WMATA) discloses that Blue Line riders will experience a decrease level of service as a result of the Silver Line, but argues that five riders will see benefits for every one rider who sees repercussions.
Last month, I went to an open house about the Silver Line in Crystal City hosted by WMATA. I jotted down some notes and took some photographs. A few notes:
Increased shuttle bus service in Tysons will be concurrent with the Silver Line with current West Falls Church buses being reassigned to serve Tysons stations.
Car parking and secure bike parking will be available at the Wiehle-Reston East station, but not any of the Tysons stations. Bike-sharing is a possible solution in Tysons.
Of great interest in the long-term is that Metro is evaluating adding a second Rosslyn station that would restore blue line trips to Rosslyn with a Silver line “interface” as well. Another option is a wye from Orange to Blue.
A new downtown line (M Street corridor) isn’t in long-term plans, but height-limit revisions could accelerate need. WMATA believes that additional rail cars could delay the need for expansion for another 15 years or so.
64 new 7000-series rail cars entering service to replace 1000 series cars which date to the systems launch. Another 64 are being allotted to the Silver Line.
The Silver Line will extend to Largo, paired with the Blue Line.