Author – Michael Neibauer
Washington Business Journal
The Silver Line will carry its first passengers on July 26, Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said Monday.
It is a “firm target,” Sarles said, but all signs point to go: The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and its contractor, Bechtel-led Dulles Transit Partners, have cleared most of the remaining punch list items.
There is an “unlikely possibility that something could pop up between now and then,” Sarles said, but he is confident in the selected starting date.
The Silver Line, the first new Metro line to open in 23 years (not including the Blue Line extension to Largo), is key to the Washington region’s economic growth, as it will link the area’s second largest central business district, Tysons, with D.C., and, eventually, bring train service to the area’s two major airports.
Planning for the new Metro line started 20 years ago. Construction started in March 2009.
Metro took control of the Silver Line from MWAA in late May, after months of delays that pushed back the scheduled opening by nearly a year.
A week of simulated service will kick off on July 20. The simulation trains will not carry passengers between the Silver Line stations, but they will carry passengers between East Falls Church and Largo Town Center, Metro announced.
Once in operation, Silver Line trains will run between Reston and Largo at roughly the same frequency as other lines — every six minutes during rush hours and every 12 to 20 minutes during off-peak times.
The first Silver Line passengers will leave Wiehle Avenue at noon on Saturday, July 26, Sarles said, following an “inaugural event.” The five new Silver Line stations across the 11.7-mile first phase will open at the same time. Four are clustered in Tysons — McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro and Spring Hill. The fifth is Wiehle.
More here on the Silver Line schedule, and to calculate fares.
The second phase of the 23-mile, $5 billion line, connecting Wiehle with Route 772 in Loudoun County, is under construction and expected to open in 2018.