Friday, June 19, 2015

WMATA Finance Committee Approves End of Metrorail Turnbacks at Grosvenor Station

The Finance and Administration Committee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) voted to end turnbacks at the Grosvernor Metrorail Station beginning in summer 2018. Currently during the peak period, only half of the Red Line trains from the District of Columbia continue to the line’s end at Shady Grove. The other half of the cars turn around at Grosvenor. For more than 10 years, ending the turnbacks at Grosvenor has been a transit priority for Montgomery County. The action will become final if approved at the WMATA Board Meeting on June 25.

The Finance and Administration Committee recommended to the WMATA Board that it approve the purchase of new 7000 series rail cars, which will allow 28 cars to be used to end the turnbacks at Grosvenor station.

Again this year in the County’s FY2015-2020 Consolidated Transportation Program priorities, the County identified as its priorities the need for funding to operate eight-car trains, eliminate the Red Line turnbacks at Grosvenor and Silver Spring and expand the existing station platform circulation capacity to accommodate existing and projected riders. To accommodate the eight-car trains, the Finance and Administration Committee also recommended approval of power upgrades on the Red Line that will begin in 2021.

In April, Montgomery County Department of Transportation Acting Director Al Roshdieh sent a letter to Maryland Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary James Ports urging the State’s support for elimination of the turnbacks. In the letter, Roshdieh stated, “New rail car investments should be directed to first eliminate the Red Line turnbacks at Grosvenor and then followed by the elimination of the turnbacks at Silver Spring. The western leg of the Red Line is a vital component of the economic development strategy along the MD 355 and I-270 corridor and will support significant levels of both employment and population growth.”