For immediate release: April 21, 2021

Metro to begin multi-year escalator replacement project starting with Gallery Place April 26

As part of a $179 million investment to improve safety and reliability, Metro will begin work to replace the oldest, least reliable escalators in the system starting with Gallery Place Station, Monday, April 26. It’s the first of 130 escalators to be replaced over seven years.   

Construction on the 9th and G streets entrance escalators near the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery is expected to last approximately six months, and will require the entrance to be closed. This will allow Metro and its contractor KONE to work on both escalators concurrently, reducing the duration of the project by three months. The Gallery Place entrances at 7th and H streets and 7th and F streets will remain open for customers to enter and exit the station.  

The entrance escalators to be replaced at Gallery Place were first installed in 1976 by Westinghouse Escalator Company, which is no longer in business. With spare parts difficult to find and after decades of exposure to the elements prior to a canopy being built, these escalators were among the poorest rated in the Metro system.  

The existing escalators rise approximately three stories high (28 feet) and will be demolished and removed piece by piece using heavy equipment. As part of construction, additional electrical and infrastructure work will also be necessary before new heavy duty, transit-grade escalators can be installed. The two new escalators are being custom manufactured by KONE at a factory in Illinois specifically for Metro and cannot simply be purchased off-the-shelf. 

Metro’s escalators are one of the work horses of the system, carrying millions of customers every year in and out of Metro’s 91 stations. Today 94 percent of Metro’s escalators are available to customers at any given time, thanks to a major overhaul of Metro’s escalators that began in 2011 to replace or rehabilitate to “like new” condition the worst performing escalators systemwide. Consistent upkeep is required to keep these units in a state of good repair.   

In addition to Gallery Place, the 130 new escalators will be spread across 32 different stations with the next escalator replacement expected to begin at New Carrollton Station as soon as late May. Additional station and schedule details will be provided when available. In the meantime, more information is available on Metro's escalator, elevator and canopy projects page, including a list of stations included in the project.  

The escalator replacement project is funded through Metro’s Capital Improvement Program. With 617 escalators, Metro operates and maintains the largest fleet of escalators in North America. 

About Metro’s Capital Improvement Program 

Metro is investing in system safety, reliability and the region's economy through its 10-year, $15 billion Capital Improvement Program. For the first time in Metro's history, the capital program is bolstered by dedicated funding from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The capital program will improve the customer experience and keep the region's infrastructure in a state of good repair by investing in new railcars and buses, improving stations and platforms, upgrading fire-suppression and emergency response systems, replacing and repairing tracks, tunnels, bridges, signals, and communications systems, rebuilding decades-old bus garages and providing modern customer amenities such as passenger information systems. In spending local taxpayer dollars for capital projects, Metro is seeking to reinvest in our hometown economy, creating jobs and encouraging participation from disadvantaged, minority-owned, and small businesses in the region.