WASHINGTON, DC HEAVY RAIL
Five Lines Serving the Capital District
Metrorail, operated by the Washington
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, serves the Capital and surrounding
areas in Maryland and Virginia. The system consists of five lines
and over 106 unduplicated route miles.
Much of the Metro, as it is commonly called, is in subway, including sections dug deep under the
District's surface. Many underground stations have characteristic vaulted
ceilings and a notable minimalist approach to location
signs and artistic frills. Also often present are
impressively lengthy escalators to carry passengers between platform level
and the street.
There are many long above-ground or surface-level stretches
further out, sometimes paralleling railroad lines, on the routes radiating
from the core area. And the Orange Line emerges from its subway
past Ballston-MU in Arlington to complete the rest of its run in the median of a busy expressway.
The first Metro segment opened in 1976; the system reached completion of its original plan
(around 103 miles) just about
one quarter of a century later. Of all the latter-day urban transit projects
developed in this country, this network is
likely the most indispensable to the area it serves.