Medical Center Entrance Escalator Replacement

Metro is beginning the replacement of the three long entrance escalators at the Medical Center Station as part of a major capital project.

The current escalators, which are almost 35 years old and have exceeded their useful life, will be replaced with brand new escalators that are more durable and reliable. Metro's contractor, KONE, will replace the three escalators one at a time as part of a contract to replace 128 escalators across the Metrorail system.

During construction, customers will have access to the elevator and two remaining escalators, one running in each direction.

How long will the project take?

Each escalator will require approximately 38 weeks for site preparation, demolition, construction, installation and testing. Replacing all three escalators in succession will take approximately 2 ½ years. Metro engineers will work closely with the project contractor, KONE, to ensure the work is done as safely and efficiently as possible.

Why will it take so long?

The Medical Center escalators are 202 feet long and transport riders 101 feet from the station mezzanine to the entrance landing so their replacement is more complicated than an average escalator replacement and will require considerably more crane activity to remove the structures and major trusses that hold each of the escalators.

The escalators will be replaced one at a time rather than all at once. For safety reasons, the work can only be conducted when the station is closed to customers and the adjacent escalators are not in service. Taken together, these factors extend the project timeline to about 2 ½ years. However, portions of the new escalators are manufactured in advance and are in storage so the project can move forward efficiently.

How will this work affect my trip?

Instead of having three escalators available to the mezzanine, only two will be available during the project: one going up, and one going down. The elevator at this entrance will remain in service during construction. Metro will have escalator technicians on standby at Medical Center to respond immediately to any outage affecting the two available escalators.

Riders should be aware that in the event of a service disruption, the station may need to be temporarily closed to prevent safety hazards related to overcrowding.

When will Medical Center Station need to be closed?

Metro may need to temporarily close the station to prevent overcrowding during service disruptions or other events - such as a disabled train, medical emergency, infrastructure problem or power failure. This may happen with little notice. When the station is temporarily closed, Red Line trains will bypass the station in both directions and passengers on the platform must exit the station.

How will I know if the station is closed?

Sign up for MetroAlerts to receive emails or text messages alerting you whenever there is a disruption on the Red Line or closure of the Medical Center. MetroAlerts will send another notification when the station has reopened. You can sign up at

What is Metro doing to ensure safe operations?

For the duration of the project, Metro will have Transit Police, emergency management, rail supervision and escalator technicians at Medical Center station at all times the Metrorail system is open. The personnel at the station will continually monitor operations and take appropriate steps to ensure that the station is not overcrowded and that escalators and elevators remain available for entry and exit. While we know that a temporarily closure of Medical Center is inconvenient, please understand that your safety is our absolute highest priority.

Medical Center Station Quick Facts

  • Medical Center Station opened August 25, 1984
  • Medical Center Station serves nearly 5,700 passengers on an average weekday
  • Medical Center's longer entrance escalators are 202 feet long and rise 101 feet
  • Stay informed by visiting this page or call Customer Service at (202) 637-7000