What is the Silver Line, and Where Will it Go?
You may have heard about the Silver Line – but what is it, and where will it go? What’s nearby the new stations? To go along with the open houses on the Silver Line this week, here’s a primer on some Silver Line basics:
What is the Silver Line? A new Metrorail extension in Virginia serving Tysons Corner and Reston. Phase 1 is nearing completion now and will open around December 2013. Phase 2 is just beginning construction, and will serve Dulles International Airport and beyond. Because the line serves the Dulles corridor and will eventually serve the Airport, the Silver Line is sometimes called the “Dulles Corridor Metrorail Extension.”
Where will the Silver Line go? The new tracks will branch off from the Orange Line between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. There will be five new stations in Phase 1 – four clustered around Tysons Corner, and one farther west at Wiehle Avenue in Reston. Phase 2 will reach Dulles Airport and beyond in several years.
What can I get to from the Silver Line? Most of Tysons Corner will be within a half-mile of a Silver Line station, or about a 15-minute walk. That includes Tysons Galleria and Tysons Corner Center shopping malls, restaurants, and the nearly 100,000 jobs in the area.
How will the Silver Line connect with the other Metrorail lines? Traveling east, Silver Line trains will join the existing Orange Line just west of East Falls Church, and then travel all the way through downtown D.C. to Largo Town Center, serving all stations along the way just like the Orange and Blue Lines. The Metro map will be redesigned to show the Silver Line, in addition to existing Orange and Blue lines, through downtown D.C.
Who is building this new line? WMATA is not building the Silver Line, the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority (MWAA) is. Over the course of this year, Metro is getting ready to receive, inspect, oversee, and operate the line as a normal Metrorail line.
When Will it Open? Anyone who’s had work done to their house knows that an exact schedule can be hard to predict with big construction projects, especially with the finishing touches at the end. Metro is currently preparing all the new staff and other resources needed to operate this new line. Nevertheless, MWAA expects be substantially complete with construction by August 2013. Metro will need several months after that to inspect and accept the new infrastructure, and if all goes well the line should open in December 2013.
Fares on the Silver Line will be charged the same way as the rest of the system. Under today’s fare structure, a one-way peak ride from Metro Center to Tysons Corner will be approximately $4.70, and the 20-mile, 40-minute ride all the way to Wiehle Avenue is long enough that it will reach the maximum rail fare of $5.75. From Rosslyn at peak times, Tysons Corner will be $4.00, and Wiehle Avenue will be $5.75.
How frequently will the Silver Line run? It will have the same hours as the rest of Metrorail. At rush hours, trains will arrive every 6 minutes. At off-peak times and weekends, trains will arrive every 12-15 minutes – the same as other lines.
- Monday-Thursday, 5:00am to midnight
- Friday, 5:00am to 3:00am (Saturday)
- Saturday, 7:00am to 3:00am (Sunday)
- Sunday, 7:00am to midnight
Will it be crowded? Maybe not at the beginning, but we expect the line to attract around 25,000 boardings per day (or 50,000 riders per day going to and from the new stations) in the first couple of years – around a third of which will actually be customers switching from the Orange Line to the Silver Line because it’s more convenient for them.
What are you doing to get the word out about all this stuff? Lots, including this blog post! But more important, we’re holding a series of public workshops now, distributing materials and answering questions at the affected stations, and issuing materials to the media. As 2013 progresses, you should start to see new system maps and other signage in stations and on trains.
Will anything happen to the bus system? Yes! Many bus routes are changing in response to the new rail service.
Will anything happen to the rest of the rail schedule? Yes, and it depends on the time of day. At peak times, we will be changing the rail schedule to accommodate the Silver Line. At off-peak times, the Silver Line is simply an increase in service – everyone between Wiehle Avenue and Largo Town Center will see more trains than they do today. The Blue Line, in particular, will experience fewer trains during the peak. See our detailed post on the changes coming to the rail schedules.