Metro capitalizes on station closures to conduct additional infrastructure renewal work

 Published: Monday, July 1, 2019

During this summer’s Platform Improvement Project, there is much more than platform reconstruction work underway. Metro is maximizing this time by completing additional infrastructure renewal work to improve safety and reliability while reducing future inconvenience to customers.

Several crews are working at or near the closed stations to replace and upgrade vital infrastructure. For example, major construction work is happening at traction power substations (TPSS) that power the rail system, in the Alexandria Rail Yard and along the tracks between closed stations. This work includes upgrading the traction power equipment, Automatic Train Control (ATC) signaling, crossovers, facility rehabilitation and more.

Doing this work while the stations are closed will help reduce future repairs that may have otherwise required single-tracking or shutdowns. We are taking advantage of the closure to wisely use this time to complete key projects, as part of our mission to bring the entire system into to a state of good repair.

Work taking place at or near all six closed stations

While the six stations south of Reagan National Airport are closed this summer, crews are using this time to complete vital infrastructure renewal work that ensures safety and reliability of the system. This additional track work includes: 

  • signal cable renewal
  • structural concrete repairs
  • vegetation removal
  • fence repairs
  • grout pad and cross tie renewal (for those unfamiliar with track terminology, grout pads are the concrete pieces that hold the tracks in place and cross ties are the wood pieces that hold the two running rails together)
  • ATC maintenance (ATC stands for Automatic Train Control, which helps ensure safe spacing between trains and controls train routing/scheduling through communication with the Rail Operations Control Center)

Other state of good repair work underway

Replacing crossover and other track work at Huntington Station

  • This vital piece of track infrastructure supports train movements and enables trains to smoothly transition from one track to another
  • Keeping this crossover in a state of good repair ensures safety and reliability for trains traveling through this area
Huntington Crossover WorkHuntington Track Work

Replacing traction power equipment at Cameron Run, Duke Street & Tilbury locations

  • These three traction power substations hold the equipment that powers the trains. As the equipment reaches the end of its life cycle, it needs to be replaced.
  • Conducting the work during the summer months allows the power to be shut off without impacting rail operations

Improving Alexandria Rail Yard

  • The Alexandria Rail Yard operates 24/7 and requires the third rail to be energized at all times to function. If the repairs were completed while the yard was open, it would be difficult to maintain railcar availability on the line and could disrupt normal passenger service
  • This work consists of multiple projects:
    • Repairs to the rail car maintenance facility
    • Cable trough installation (pictured below) to increase yard operation capacity. Completing this important work during the summer closure will allow crews to install as much civil and electrical infrastructure within the rail yard that will reduce service impacts during future upgrades
    • Interior and exterior facility improvements like painting, carpet removal/floor tile installation, exterior wall power washing and sidewalk repairs
Trough Installation at Alexandria Rail Yard

Repairing rail bridge near Van Dorn St Station

  • Crews are repairing concrete that has been damaged from train vibrations over the years. This work requires the use of a lift located immediately next to (and sometimes over) the tracks, so it can't be done when trains are running in the area
  • The work will take the entire summer to complete; if the work was performed while the stations remained open, the timeline for this repair would be much longer than three months
Repairing Rail Bridge Near Van Dorn Street Station