by Thompson Wall
The long-awaited Silver Line officially opens five new Metrorail stations Saturday, July 26 and Metro is advising riders about plans to test the trains next week.
Silver Line testing begins Sunday, when the Rush Plus Orange Line will disappear and two Blue Line trains will shift to the Yellow Line, The Washington Post reports. Test trains will leave the Wiehle-Reston East station and travel without passengers before joining the Orange Line trains at the East Falls Church station. The trains will then become Orange Line trains and take on passengers as they head to Largo Town Center. Once there, the trains will turn west and head to East Falls Church as Orange Line trains. Passengers will then have to get off and wait for the next Orange Line train toward Vienna, according to The Washington Post.
Test trains are scheduled to run every six minutes at peak periods throughout the day. Passengers boarding trains at Vienna, Dunn Loring or West Falls Church should expect increased crowding next week.
The project is intended to migrate riders who use outer stations on the Orange Line to the five new Silver Line stations.
Phase one includes an 11.4-mile extension starting at Wiehle Avenue in Reston, meeting the Orange Line at East Falls Church and continuing through downtown to Largo Town Center.
Phase two, which will open six more stations in 2018, includes 11 miles of track that will run through Reston and Herndon to Dulles and into eastern Loudoun County.The $5.6 billion rail line will eventually connect downtown D.C. to Dulles International Airport.
View updates on the project and a complete map at the Silver Line Metro website.