WMATA Plans Three Weeks of Track Maintenance Work

Written by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
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Work crews will replace busted grout pads over the course of three weeks.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has announced that it will perform critical track maintenance work during the late-night and overnight hours weeknights, beginning Feb. 27 – March 2, March 6 – 9, and March 13-16.

Work will begin at 10 p.m., with trains single-tracking between Foggy Bottom and Arlington Cemetery on the Blue and Blue+ lines, and between Foggy Bottom and Ballston on the Orange and Silver lines, prior to the system closing.

The three-mile-long single-track section, combined with the closure of the Yellow Line Bridge, requires train service on the four lines to be reduced to every 26 minutes, a release said. 

Trains will travel through the single track in pairs, two in each direction. Trains on the Orange and Blue lines will run back-to-back for two minutes between Rosslyn and Stadium-Armory, followed by a 24-minute break while trains in the opposite direction pass through. All other stations will have trains arriving every 26 minutes.

Work crews will replace the grout pads, concrete slabs that must support the weight of trains and to which the tracks are anchored, over a three-week period. Grout pads must be replaced over time, which WMATA said is a difficult and time-consuming process. The bolts, fasteners, insulators, and rail are removed first, followed by the demolition of each grout pad. The rail is then reinstalled after new concrete is poured into a mold and cured for several hours.

Crews plan to begin mobilizing and positioning equipment early in order to complete as much work as possible before the system opens in the morning. Ridership after 10 p.m. accounts for only about 4% of total systemwide ridership, minimizing the impact on customers and allowing more work to be completed.

WMATA will have additional buses available to add service on selected routes as an alternative. Customers on the Orange and Silver Lines can also use the 38B Metrobus, which runs between Farragut Square and Ballston.