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WMATA's Silver Line Prepares for July 26 Opening

The Washington Metro­politan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is preparing for the July 26 opening of the first phase of the Silver Line.

WMATA opened the Metrorail system in 1976. The Silver Line joins five other heavy rail lines (86 stations and 106.3 miles of track) and is the first new construction since the Blue Line extension opened in 2004.

The service will operate on 11.4 miles of new track with five new stations in ­Virginia  and connects to existing Orange Line tracks, continues through downtown Washington, DC, and terminates in Largo, MD. WMATA anticipates providing about 25,000 ­Silver Line rides per weekday in its first few years of service, of which around one-third will be customers switching from the Orange Line because the new line is more convenient.

WMATA began “simulated service” on the Silver Line route July 20. The simulation trains operated between the terminus stations in Virginia and Maryland.

Silver Line service will begin operations using railcars in the existing WMATA fleet. The agency is expecting 528 new railcars to enter revenue service later this year: Officials say that 300 will replace the oldest vehicles, 100 will replace some more recent cars, and 128 will be used for fleet expansion. The additional cars will operate on all Metro lines, not exclusively on the Silver Line.

A second phase, projected to open in 2018, will extend service to Dulles Inter­national Airport and ­Loudoun County.

The Tysons Corner Station, one of five new stations on WMATA’s Silver Line in Virginia.

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