Metro trains diverted to relieve track congestion

Metro officials will reroute some Blue Line trains to free up space for the traffic-heavy Orange Line, a change the transit agency announced last week.

The changes would divert six Blue Line trains down the Yellow Line instead, a move that Metro officials say will improve passengers’ access to the District’s downtown area. In turn, three more trains will run along the Orange Line in each direction to mitigate the rush hour traffic Metro calls the “Orange Crush.”

“The realignment will provide additional capacity where it is needed most, provide more transfer-free rides and make room for trains that will operate on the new Silver Line,” according to a release.

The changes would go into effect in June.

This would shift about 20 to 33 percent of riders from the Blue Line onto the Yellow Line, increasing the number of riders at the L’Enfant Plaza station, which Metro said has “sufficient capacity to accommodate” more foot traffic.

Twenty-six Metro trains run from Rosslyn to Foggy Bottom every hour in each direction, leaving no space in that tunnel for the future Silver Line to pass through. Redirecting trains will create space for the additional trains, according to Metro plans, as well as the Silver Line to Dulles International Airport.

About 180,000 passengers ride Metro’s Orange Line on a typical weekday.

But the reshuffling will add a maximum of six minutes in waiting time for riders traveling on the Blue Line from Arlington Cemetery during peak times.

The rerouting will provide “faster access to downtown” for about 33,500 riders, according to the release, while only about 16,000 may see the delay tacked on to their commutes.

Changes will take effect in June, toward the end of a three-phase rollout that includes advertising efforts and progress monitoring.

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