Todd's Railfan Guide To

In General


In General

Coverage of the DC Metro system is split up into individual pages for each line:
     the Red Line
     the Blue Line
     the Orange Line
     the Yellow Line
     the Green Line
     the Silver Line

The Washington Metro, also known just as the Metro and Metrorail, is the rapid transit system for Washington, D.C., and its surrounding suburbs.  It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which also operates Metrobus service under the Metro name In Maryland

The Metro provides service to Montgomery and Prince George's County in Maryland, and in Virginia to Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria.

The Metro opened March 27th, 1976.  Since then, the network has grown to include five lines, 86 stations, and 106.3 miles of track.  It started in 1968, when WMATA approved the construction of a 98 mile rapid transit system.  Construction started on December 9th, 1969.  There were 5 stations on the 4.6 mile Red Line, Rhode Island to Farragut North.  The system now comprises of:
     The Red Line, which has 27 stations. 
     The Blue Line, which opened in 1977 and has 27 stations. 
     The Orange Line, which opened in 1978 and has 26 stations. 
     The Yellow Line, which opened in 1983 and has 17 stations. 
     The Green Line, which opened in 1991, has 21 stations.
     The Silver Line is expected to open in 2013 and will have 11 stations when completed in 2016.

About 50 miles of the system is underground, as are 47 of the 86 stations.

There are 50 stations in DC, 15 in Prince Georges Co MD, 11 in Montgomery Co MD, 11 in Arlington Co VA, 6 in Fairfax Co VA, and 3 in Alexandria VA.

The Forest Glen station on the Red Line is the deepest on the system at 196 feet, but doesn't use escalators, they use high speed elevators instead.

Washington's Metro system is the second-busiest rapid transit system in the United States in number of passenger trips, after the New York City Subway System.

Fares vary based on the distance traveled and the time of day, which really makes commuting more complicated than it has to be, and sucks for those of us who don't ride the system every day.  Riders enter and exit the system using a stored-value card in the form of a paper magnetic stripe farecard or a proximity card known as SmarTrip.

Parking is pretty convenient at most above ground stations, BUT BEWARE of the posted signs, for they DO ticket almost immediately (speaking from personal experience).  Most lots have general parking until the rush hours, then certain spaces need to be vacated.

For more info, check these resources out:

More to come, please check back.......


Click here for the above map in PDF format.




Pictures from the Shady Grove station at the end of the Red Line on train show day at Gaithersburg, 11-04-2007. 



CSX runs alongside the Metro, this one is on it's way west to Hagerstown and Cumberland.



Coming Changes as of June 2012

  From 6/12/2012

WMATA announced changes back in 2012 to the operating schedule for the Yellow, Orange, and Blue lines in preparation for the opening of the Silver line.

The changes to Metrorail are being promoted as Rush Plus, and are effective only during and around the rush hours.

There are no changes to the Green or Red line schedules, other than having to adjust your timing if you connect with one of the aforementioned lines.  These changes were in the Sunday, June 10th edition of the Washington Post in their Metro section, and take effect on June 18th, 2012.

Trains will be added to the Orange and Yellow lines, but trains will be deleted from the Blue line schedule.

More info at: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/rushplus.cfm?


  Other upcoming changes as of June 12th, 2012....

 Check out their website for work going on around the system!  http://www.wmata.com/



I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


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