Metro Silver Line passes major milestone

A major milestone was announced today in the development of the Metro Silver Line and the arrival of train service to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.

It’s a lot of officialese and acronyms so we’re going to break it down for readers.

  • The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (or the Metro to keep things simple) announced today that it is taking control of Phase 2 of the Silver Line.
  • Phase 2 is the final stretch of the Silver Line that goes to IAD and into Loudoun County, ending in Ashburn.
  • It includes six new Silver Line stations, 11.4 miles of new track, and a new rail yard.
  • The control is being passed from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) that oversaw the construction of Phase 2 of the Silver Line.
  • Basically in this scenario, the MWAA built it and then hands it over to the Metro to operate.
  • This milestone is known as the Operational Readiness Date (ORD).
  • Metro didn’t want to take over until they were 100 percent confident that construction was done because they didn’t want to be responsible for unexpected repairs or additional work.
  • So the handing over is a big deal for this years long project. It means the bulk of the work is officially done.
  • Now, the Metro taking over means they can begin staffing and training the employees who will work on the new Silver Line.
  • They also have to run several months of tests and exercises before the public can begin riding.
  • An actual opening date has not been announced yet. The Metro board still has to vote to formally accept the Phase 2 project.
  • The remainder of the Silver Line is expected to open to the passengers 90 to 150 days after the Operational Readiness Date. So some time this fall.

Here’s a little video that shows you exactly how the new Metro stations fit into the overall Metro transportation system.

Metro's Silver Line Extension

(Video and photo at top courtesy WMATA)

  1. jimmys 9 months ago

    So we can only hope to ride this in 2024? When I moved to the area just past 10 years ago, the homebuilders said metro would be here by 2016.

    • Paul Serrano 9 months ago

      We’re looking at October, more or less. When I moved to Ashburn 10 years ago, the Silver Line was still an idea without funding. Loudoun County decided to support it only in 2014, and the original completion date was 2018. I suspect it was slow-rolled for a couple of years because of the plague – Metro would lose even more money if everyone was staying home.

  2. Paul 9 months ago

    By the time it’s ready to operate it’s going to be obsolete…flying cars anyone

    • JJ 9 months ago

      Better yet, work remotely from home.

  3. Ken Mills 9 months ago

    The line should have been planned towards the airport and Loudoun County to begin with when first built, and Tysens Corners (originally spelled as Tysen’s Corner) would have been served; this reminds me of the Green Line waiting to be opened toward the Southeast suburbia: originally to Rosecroft + Raceway, plans were changed over, service was extended first to Anacostia in 1991-1992, then debate in 1999 over ‘where’ the extension should go (i.e. Brandywine, Clinton, etc.): Branch Avenue became the new terminal which finally opened in 2001; going in the other direction was in bits-n-pieces to U Street/Cardozo in 1991, then Fort Totten to Greenbelt in 1993 leaving open the gap through Columbia Heights and Petworth which I missed the opening in 1999 (I still remember the date because a hurricane in Trenton NJ prevented myself from taking Amtrak into and out of DC, so I had to take a bus); even the Red Line missed the boat when trains currently terminate at Shady Grove when this should have been Gaithersburg altogether according to a map of future plans (in 2003, I hadn’t realized Shady Grove WAS a part of Gaithersburg as someone told me how they went through to reach Pennsylvania for a Christian retreat: I know because I was at the same retreat when we met up): I assumed MARC commuter railroad didn’t want the competition.

  4. Adaisha 8 months ago

    I’ve never seen any information about how long it will take the metro to travel these six additional stations. Will every train go through the airport or will some bypass it? Super curious to know the travel time from the Ashburn station to DC, say the Foggy Bottom station.

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