Trains running along corridor as part of essential ongoing safety, durability testing
In December, trains were running along the corridor between the Ashburn and Wiehle-Reston East stations as part of simulated service testing. There were no passengers aboard. Observers along the Reston-Herndon corridor and westward along the Dulles Greenway to Ashburn were hopeful as they saw the trains running at service-level frequency. Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, managers of the rail extension, reported that results of those tests were positive.
Simulated service is another step toward being able to transfer the project to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). WMATA will conduct additional testing to ensure the safety and durability of the extension, which has been under construction since 2014 when the first phase from East Falls Church through Tysons to the eastern edge of Reston opened.
Capital Rail Constructors (CRC), the contractor building the mainline and stations for Phase 2, reached a major milestone when the Airports Authority declared that the project reached its substantial completion landmark in October. Hensel-Phelps, the contractor building a 90-acre rail yard at Dulles International Airport to support the project and rest of the Metro system, reached substantial completion a few days later.
WMATA still has a lot more testing prior to accepting the project and there will be additional testing prior to WMATA setting an opening date for passenger service.
Meanwhile, the Airports Authority, WMATA and contractors are working together to complete punch-list items along the Phase 2 alignment, which runs between the Wiehle-Reston East Station and Ashburn Station with stops at Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport and Loudoun Gateway.
While there is no specific date for opening, WMATA has indicated passenger service could begin in spring time.
Business leaders, residents and politicians in the area have voiced strong support for opening the system as soon as possible. The Airports Authority and WMATA continue to stress that making sure the project is safe for all involved continues to be the number one goal.
Pictured at top: During December, the rail project conducted simulated service along the Phase 2 alignment. During that test, project partners worked with WMATA to operate the system as if it were in full service.