In keeping with the new approach to track work previously announced, yesterday WMATA released a one year look-ahead for track work and station closures on the Metrorail system. As outlined when the scheme was announced, these are complete closures. No trains will operate through the affected areas, and shuttle buses will provide replacement service. Many of the closures are related to the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, and involve closing the Orange Line between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. Some of the closures are more extensive, such as between L’Enfant Plaza and Southern Ave., Glenmont and Fort Totten, and Pentagon City and King Street (not all on the same weekend, obviously).
In related news, London Underground issued another announcement yesterday concerning the impending suspension of the District and Circle lines between High Street Kensington and Edgware Road from July 23 to August 23. This four-week closure will permit substantial infrastructure upgrades: track renewal, including drainage improvements and power upgrades to support new rolling stock.
However, unlike WMATA, London Underground will not run any dedicated shuttles. The affected by the closure are all in Zone 1, an area well-served by Tube and local bus services. Many of the stations in the closed area are accessible from multiple lines, and at those stations, only the platforms for the District and Circle lines will be closed. For the remaining stations, passengers will be able to use nearby Tube stations and local bus services.
Already, complaints have begun to come in about WMATA’s new approach. But the reality is that these kinds of closures, both on Metrorail and the London Underground, are vital. Both systems have suffered from periods of underinvestment and decay, and now they need major overhaul in order to attain a state of good repair. For Metrorail riders, the situation is worse, because the Metrorail system doesn’t offer the same kind of redundancy as the Tube. WMATA generally has no choice but to run shuttle buses, and riders loathe shuttle buses. At the same time, the work must be done. For better or worse, the periods around holidays often have lower ridership than usual for the Metrorail system, and are ideal for performing track work which requires a major closure.
Continue reading Track work: it happens everywhere