Metro officials are aiming for an October opening of the phase two of the Silver Line, a long-delayed project that appears on track to go live this fall.
At a board meeting on Thursday (July 28), Metro’s new general manager Randy Clarke cautioned that a more specific timeline can’t be disclosed because the completion of the 11.4-mile project is dependent on work by other stakeholders, including a go-ahead from the Federal Transit Administration and the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.
He hopes to have more details to share next month.
“We obviously have some work that we have to do,” Clarke said at the meeting, adding that safety is Metro’s top priority.
Metro declared operational readiness in late June. Now, a number of items need to be handled, including training employees, simulating service, running through emergency preparedness drills, rail inspections, and wayfinding measures, Clarke said.
“We are either running safe service or the service should not run,” he said.
As part of safety certifications, the FTA and WMSC will also give Metro the green light to proceed with rail service. That work is still underway, along with a safety and security certification by Metro’s Chief Security Officer.
The second phase of the Silver Line has been in the works under the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for almost a decade now, encountering numerous delays that have frustrated local residents, business owners, and elected officials.
At the meeting, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn pressed Clarke for more details on the opening date. He emphasized that phase two must clear additional hurdles — including a go-ahead from the WMSC, which did not exist when the first phase opened.
“I don’t know if a lot of people recognize that,” Alcorn said, adding that residents and businesses are eager for rail service to begin soon.
Clarke said that Metro believes it is at “the confidence level” that all remaining work needed for safety certification will be completed by October.
“It’s important work,” he said. “…The team is incredibly focused on getting there.”
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