- It's coming in late 2013. (Photo: WMATA)
Everyone loves a good time-lapse video, and Metro has taken advantage of our fondness in offering up a two-minute time-lapse of September track work from the West Falls Church Metro station. The work happened during one of WMATA's weekend work marathons, and as the Orange Line shut down in places, workers installed switches here in anticipation for the future Silver Line.
Watch the dizzying video of the progress here:
In the video, you see workers moving about in both night and day. They race in silence across the screen, rapid-fire fast and moving pieces of rail on and off the track as they install the new crossover switches. Car traffic races on both sides of their work.
The Silver Line continues to ride forward, the name official and the imagined track stretching out from the Orange Line to connect with Dulles. D.C. metro area riders will then be able to reach the Dulles airport with far greater ease. The 23-mile extension to Loudon County has been fraught with escalating costs, and as the Post reported yesterday, Dulles toll road drivers could face "heartburn level" costs associated with the $6-billion project. These toll prices, which will rise for the main plaza as soon as January 1, will pay for more than half of the Silver Line, which isn't expected to open until late 2013. The work on the extension, however, is already very much underway.
Metro's social media manager Brian Anderson describes the West Falls Church track work video this way:
During an Orange Line weekend shutdown in September, contractors installed new crossover switches outside of West Falls Church in preparation for the Silver Line to Dulles. This time lapse shows the work in two minutes... from removal of the existing cross-section of track, clearing land, dumping the new ballast, and installing each new piece of the switch sections. You'll notice the use of concrete ties on this portion of the new Silver Line... because this is a newly built portion of rail. Our existing rights-of-way use wooden ties and a different type of ballast, not "compatible" with concrete ties.
Metro has continued to release various videos on its Metro Forward YouTube page, which I encourage people to check out if they want a better understanding of what all the track work has been about. These videos attempt to strongly anchor the needs and goals of Metro with visuals and translate what is for many a giant, confusing system into something coherent — and more importantly for WMATA, attempt to create the impression that the transit agency is worth trusting and on top of the many intense tasks at hand. The agency is fighting back against considerable waves of commuter rage and frustration but a consistent message, combined with frequency of updates, is likely to change riders' impressions of WMATA over time, assuming it delivers on its promises of repairs and that its actions reflect the message.
Here's another Metro Forward video in which a rider tells WMATA he "applauds" the agency's recent efforts and understands the enormity of any repair effort like this: