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The Red Line of the Washington Metromarker is a rail rapid transit service operating between 27 stations in Montgomery Countymarker, Marylandmarker and the District of Columbiamarker. It is a primary line through downtown Washington, and the oldest and busiest line in the system. It forms a long, narrow U capped by its terminal stations at Shady Grovemarker and Glenmontmarker.

It is the only line which does not share its track with any other line, except from January 27, 1997 to September 17, 1999, when the Green Line Commuter Shortcut used Red Line tracks from Brookland–CUAmarker to Farragut Northmarker. Unique among the Washington Metro train lines, some peak service Red Line trains operate on an abbreviated route, between Grosvenor-Strathmoremarker and Silver Springmarker. On April 20, 2006 WMATA, Montgomery County, and the state of Marylandmarker announced an agreement to end the off-peak terminations at Grosvenor, having those trains operate instead between Shady Grove and Silver Spring.

Internally, the Red Line is known as the Shady Grove Route (A) and the Glenmont Route (B), which meet at Metro Centermarker.

The Red Line needs 44 trains (10 eight-car trains and 34 six-car trains, consisting of 284 rail cars) to run at peak capacity


By 1969, WMATA had decided on the current routing and stations, except for the extension beyond Rockville to Shady Grove.

Shady Grove Route

This route begins at Metro Center (12th and G Streets, Northwest) and extends westward in subway under G Street, thence northwestward under Lafayette Park and Farragut Square, continuing under Connecticut Avenue to Yuma Street. From this point, the route proceeds westward in subway under Yuma Street to Tenley Circle, thence northward under Wisconsin Avenue to the District of Columbia–Maryland boundary. The route continues northward under Wisconsin Avenue, through Bethesda, to a point south of the Capital Beltway. The route crosses over the Capital Beltway along the east side of Rockville Pike, thence northward in subway along Rockville Pike to a point south of Randolph Road, thence proceeds under private property in subway to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The route continues northwestward on the surface along the B&O Railroad to a terminal in Rockville at Shady Grove. The following stations were included (current names indicated in parentheses): Metro Center, Farragut North, Dupont Circle, Zoological Park (Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan), Cleveland Park, Van Ness(-UDC), Tenley Circle (Tenleytown-AU), Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Medical Center, Parkside (Grosvenor-Strathmore), Nicholson Lane (White Flint), Halpine Road (Twinbrook), Rockville, and Shady Grove. Storage tracks and inspection facilities are located just north of the Shady Grove terminal. A future extension is planned extending northward to Germantown, with alignment to be determined.

Glenmont Route

This route begins at Metro Center and extends eastward in subway under G Street to 6th Street, thence southeastward under Judiciary Square, eastward under D Street, and northward under Union Station. The route then proceeds northward on the surface along the B&O Railroad to the District of Columbia–Maryland boundary. The route continues northward through Silver Spring along the B&O Railroad, thence in subway under 16th Street and Georgia Avenue to a terminal at Glenmont. The following stations are included: Gallery Place, Judiciary Square, Union Station, Rhode Island, Brookland, Fort Totten, Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton, and Glenmont. The main maintenance yard is located south of the Rhode Island Station. Storage and inspection facilities are located north of the Glenmont Station.Funding for the extension to Shady Grove was conditionally approved in July 1975.

Service on the Red Line (and the Metro as a whole) began on March 29, 1976, with operations between Farragut Northmarker and Rhode Island Avemarker. Gallery Placemarker's opening was delayed due to a court order regarding lack of handicapped access, but it opened in the middle of the line on December 15, 1976.

The western end of the line was extended one station to Dupont Circlemarker on January 17, 1977, three stations to Van Ness–UDCmarker on December 5, 1981, five stations to Grosvenor-Strathmoremarker on August 25, 1984, and four stations to Shady Grovemarker on December 15, 1984.

The eastern end was extended four stations to Silver Springmarker on February 6, 1978 – which added Marylandmarker to the system for the first time – two stations to Wheatonmarker on September 22, 1990, and one station to Glenmontmarker on July 25, 1998, completing the line.

A short time after the Green Line branch north of Fort Tottenmarker opened in the early 1990s, the Green Line Commuter Shortcut began as a six-month experiment. Passengers could board the Green Line between Greenbeltmarker and West Hyattsvillemarker and travel as far as Farragut Northmarker without having to transfer; the trains bypassed Fort Tottenmarker via a single-track spur between the West Hyattsville and Brookland–CUA stations. Due to its success, the shortcut continued until the mid-city portion of the Green Line was completed in 1999.

The New York Ave–Florida Ave–Gallaudet Umarker station, located between Union Stationmarker and Rhode Island Ave–Brentwoodmarker, opened on November 20, 2004. It was the system's first in-fill station (a new station between existing stations).


Below is a chronological list of dates on which specific portions of the Red Line opened for service.
Date Event Total number of stations Total line length
March 29, 1976 Line opens between Farragut Northmarker and Rhode Island Ave–Brentwoodmarker 5 4.6 mi (7.4 km)
December 15, 1976 Gallery Pl–Chinatownmarker opens between existing stations 6 4.6 mi (7.4 km)
January 1, 1977 Extension to Dupont Circlemarker opens 7 5.7 mi (9.2 km)
February 6, 1978 Extension to Silver Springmarker opens 11 11.4 mi (18.3 km)
December 5, 1981 Extension to Van Ness–UDCmarker opens 14 13.5 mi (21.7 km)
August 25, 1984 Extension to Grosvenor-Strathmoremarker opens 19 20.3 mi (32.7 km)
December 15, 1984 Extension to Shady Grovemarker opens 23 27.3 mi (43.9 km)
September 22, 1990 Extension to Wheatonmarker opens 25 30.5 mi (49.1 km)
January 25, 1998 Extension to Glenmontmarker opens 26 31.9 mi (51.3 km)
November 20, 2004 New York Ave–Florida Ave–Gallaudet Umarker opens between existing stations 27 31.9 mi (51.3 km)

2009 train collision

On the afternoon of June 22, 2009, at 5:03 p.m. EDT, two trains on the Red Line collided. A stationary train was struck from behind by a second six-car train, resulting in the telescoping of the moving train onto the rear of the stationary train. Nine people were killed in the collision (eight passengers and the train operator), and at least 70 people were injured. It is the deadliest accident in the history of the Washington Metro.


The Red Line begins above ground at Shady Grove, and parallels CSX Transportation's Metropolitan Subdivision (served by MARC Brunswick Line trains) to south of Twinbrook. There it enters a tunnel and curves west to Rockville Pike at White Flint. Until Tenleytown, the Red Line follows the route of Rockville Pike and Wisconsin Avenue. The tunnel curves east at Tenleytown into Yuma Street to reach Van Ness, curving back south there under Connecticut Avenue to south of Farragut Squaremarker. A curve under Lafayette Park takes the tunnel east under G Street NW through Metro Center to Gallery Pl–Chinatown.

From Gallery Pl–Chinatown through Judiciary Square, the line runs southeast, turning east again at D Street to reach Union Stationmarker. There it turns north and surfaces adjacent to Union Station's platforms, follows the Washington Terminal yard tracks north to Brentwood where the line turns northwestward and again joins CSX Transportation's Metropolitan Subdivision tracks, running in a unique gauntlet arrangement with the freight railroad tracks straddling the Metro tracks. The line runs in this manner northwest across the District-Maryland line, through Takoma Parkmarker and past Silver Springmarker. It reenters a tunnel at 16th Street West and heads north under Georgia Avenuemarker to the end at Glenmontmarker.

The following stations are along the line, from northwest to northeast.

See also


External links

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