After years of anticipation and upwards of $3.1 billion in investments, phase two of the Silver Line will officially open to customers tomorrow.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about the 11.4-mile extension, which brings six new stations into Loudoun County. Notably, the extension provides a direct connection to Dulles International Airport, with its terminus in Ashburn.
The project also includes the largest rail yard in the Metro system — the Dulles Rail Yard — which is located on 90 acres of the Dulles Airport property.
Grand opening ceremonies
The first train will take off at 1:54 p.m. on the Ashburn Metro station, traveling the full 11.2-mile extension to Downtown Largo in Maryland. The deadline to snag one of 100 “Wonka-style ‘Silver Tickets'” for a preview ride at 1:15 p.m. ended last week via a social media contest.
A slew of grand opening ceremonies and celebratory events are planned throughout the day.
Dulles Airport gets its own big, invite-only ribbon-cutting. Then, at 2 p.m., the Fairfax County Department of Transportation will hold its own ceremony at the Innovation Center station.
Meanwhile, county officials will gather at the office building at 1950 Opportunity Way in Reston at 3:30 p.m. for another celebration. Attendees will get a chance to ride the new Reston Town Center shuttle and the new Fairfax Connector routes that start the next day, though service will officially launch Wednesday (Nov. 16).
Town of Herndon officials will also gather at 8 a.m. at the entrance of the Herndon Metro Station on the first full day of service — Wednesday — to celebrate the station’s opening. Newly re-elected Mayor Sheila Olem, State Senator Jennifer Boysko, and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust are all scheduled to speak.
FCDOT is also planning a family day at the Innovation Center station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19.
How the extension works
Trains will run up to every 10 minutes during rush hour, every 12 minutes during midday, evening and weekends, and every 15 minutes during late-night hours.
Riding from the airport to the Metro Center station in D.C. takes around 52 minutes, while riding from the farthest station in Ashburn to Union Station takes 74 minutes.
Fares are based on distance travelled and the time of day, with costs ranging between $2 to $6. One-way trips after 9:30 p.m. are just $2. Metro offers a cost estimator to plan trips online.
Payment is made via Metro’s SmarTrip card, which can also be loaded to your mobile device. A plastic SmarTrip card can be purchased at all Metrorail stations, retail locations and online.
Getting to Metro
Each Silver Line station has a kiss-and-ride drop-off location — except the airport stop. Fairfax Connector buses are also available for all the stations. Detailed routes that service each station are available online.
Local jurisdictions own all the parking facilities near the Metro Stations. Parking fees can be paid by the SmarTrip card. Commuter parking is available for all but the airport and Reston Station stops.
Stations in Reston and Herndon
The Reston Town Center Metro Station (12023-A Sunset Hills Road Reston) is the first of the six new stations and includes two entrances on both sides of the Dulles Toll Road. While there’s no hourly parking in the kiss-and-ride lot, drop-offs are available on both sides. The facility also has 40 bike racks and 22 bike lockers. Future Capital Bikeshare stations are planned. But don’t bring your car and expect to leave it there — there’s no commuter parking.
The Herndon Metro Station (585-A Herndon Parkway) is near a planned transit-oriented development that hasn’t quite kicked off yet. While that project is still in the planning phases, the stop includes parking for roughly 3,500 cars in two garages, along with an exit to the Dulles Toll Road. The facility also has 162 bike racks and 18 bike racks. Two repairs stations and a bottle-filling station are also included.
The Innovation Center Metro Station (13747-A Sunrise Valley Drive) has a parking garage on the south side of the station for 2,000 cars, but parking is reserved and multi-day parking is not allowed. The facility has 177 bike racks and 10 bike lockers. Future electric vehicle charging stations are planned.
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