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BREAKING: Silver Line Phase II to open in mid-November

The future Reston Town Center Metro station will open on (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) Phase two of the Silver Line will officially open on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Metro announced today.

The long-delayed, 11.4-mile extension will bring six stations from Reston through Loudoun County. An opening date has been anticipated for months.

Shared in a video featuring Metro employees, the announcement comes after a kerfuffle between Metro and the Washington Metropolitan Safety Commission (WMSC) on safety approvals and related logistics. Earlier this month, Metro officials said the opening could be hung up by lack of trains needed to service the project.

However, those issues were evidently settled last week after Metro submitted a new safety plan and the commission agreed to let more trains return to the tracks.

“We appreciate our partners at [the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Federal Transit Administration], WMSC, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties who have worked collaboratively with us for several years to reach this moment,” Metro General Manager/CEO Randy Clarke said in the news release.

To mark opening day, Metro employees will hand out commemorative pennants, a “tradition that started when the first station opened in 1976,” the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said.

Information about additional opening day festivities will be released in the coming days. There will be a ribbon-cutting at the Dulles International Airport station and a community event at the Reston Town Center station, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn’s office.

“This day has been decades in the making, and marks the completion of the core transit infrastructure that will connect the Dulles Corridor for generations to come,” said Alcorn, who chairs the Fairfax County board’s transportation committee. “Thank you to all who made this happen, especially the commercial property owners and drivers on the Dulles Toll Road that are paying for construction of this new rail line.”

With the opening of the new stations, the Silver Line will be 23 miles long, running from downtown Largo in Prince George’s County, through D.C. and into Northern Virginia. The line’s first phase, including five new stations in Tysons and at Wiehle-Reston East, opened in July 2014.

The new stations are located in Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn.

Under construction since 2014, the Silver Line extension project also includes a new rail maintenance and service yard the Dulles airport property. The Dulles Rail Yard is the system’s largest rail yard and employs nearly 700 people, WMATA says.

All of the stations — except the station in Reston Town Center and Dulles International Airport — will have commuter parking.

Metro’s Trip Planner will provide updated travel times to and from the six new stations.

Metro hasn’t officially received safety certifications for the Phase II stations, since it has “a short list of items” that need to be finalized before opening.

“Metro continues to work on a short list of items that we are coordinating daily with the WMSC,” the transit agency said. “We appreciate their collaboration and expect to finalize safety certification before we open for passenger service. We’re working hard to get everything ready and look forward to welcoming you on opening day.”

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