Metro opens in Springfield although work continues.
Photo by Mike Salmon.
There are still signs of construction around the Franconia-Springfield Metro station, but the smile on Ofori Akwasi’s face as he handed out papers
at the bottom of the escalator on Sept. 9 was a good indicator that commuters were glad to have the trains rolling again.
“Everybody’s happy,” Akwasi said.
Emma Elms of Alexandria was heading to her job downtown. She drove to work all summer, but says the train is easier. “Too many people on the road,” she said.
All summer, stations were closed for the the “Platform Improvement Project,” but Monday morning, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced that “the six Blue and Yellow line stations south of Reagan National Airport — Braddock Rd, King St-Old Town, Eisenhower Ave, Huntington, Van Dorn St and Franconia-Springfield — opened as scheduled with completely rebuilt platforms and several customer improvements.”
New station improvements include slip-resistant tiles on the platforms and in the mezzanine areas, stainless-steel platform shelters with charging outlets/ports, additional Passenger Information Display (PIDS) screens, energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the station and improved speakers for clearer public announcements and emergency notifications.
Over the summer, there were several bus systems in use, shuttling commuters from the stations south of Reagan-National Airport to stations where the trains were still rolling. The buses were free for the summer, as was the parking at the stations and the complaints were minimal. Erin Scronce of Springfield liked that system, particularly the cost. “It was great, I prefer it to taking the train,” she said.
Monday morning commuters rushed by as usual, and one man heading to the Pentagon had no time to reminisce. “I’m just excited that something gets done,” he said.
While all heavy construction activity has been completed, customers should be aware that work will continue for several more weeks without impacting train service, WMATA said. Metro users should be aware of the following when using the system:
- • At Franconia-Springfield and Huntington stations, customers will board all trains from one side of the platform. In addition, non-slip tile installation is ongoing throughout the mezzanine areas in these two stations.
- • At Huntington Station’s north entrance, fare vending machines will not be available for approximately three weeks. The City of Alexandria’s mobile commuter store will be located in the mezzanine weekdays from 5:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. At other times, customers can load their cards online or access machines on the south side of the station.
- • At Huntington Station, the walkway between the Huntington North garage and Huntington 3 (middle) garage will remain closed.
- • At Braddock Rd Station, the availability of bike racks will be limited due to ongoing construction staging.
- • Some passenger information displays may not be operational in the first days of service.
Customers should listen for announcements from Metro employees or visit wmata.com for next train information, service status and trip planning.
The platform project was part of a larger effort by Metro called “Metro's Capital Program,” where they are investing $15 billion over 10 years to improve the customer experience and keep the region's infrastructure in a state of good repair by investing in new railcars and buses, improving stations and platforms, upgrading fire-suppression and emergency response systems, replacing and repairing tracks, tunnels, bridges, signals, and communications systems, rebuilding decades-old bus garages and providing modern customer amenities such as passenger information systems, Metro information stated. For the first time in Metro's history, the capital program is bolstered by dedicated funding from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, Metro said.