Your Metro Minute Expanded Edition

March 29, 2023: Shutdowns, why do they happen?

This is Your Metro Minute, the expanded edition--a weekly video and blog series for our Metro customers. Want to learn more about our transit system? Now's your chance.

The one word our customers probably never want to hear is shutdown. When it comes to maintenance work, we do our best to avoid shutting down stations, but there are times when it's the best option to keep the system in a state of good repair.

Think of it like getting a good night's rest. Having a good quality sleep will allow your body time to reboot itself. You'll feel refreshed or rejuvenated, ready to tackle the day. Our Metrorail system works the same way. Every night, the system closes to perform maintenance and inspections. This keeps our pace of repairing and upgrading.

However, sometimes you may need more than 'one' good night's rest to function properly -- just like Metrorail. Sometimes repairs and upgrades require several days, weeks, to even months to get us to a state-of-good-repair.

Shutdowns are easier for several reasons. One reason is that it allows the maintenance work to be completed quickly with fewer disruptions. Upgrades that may take weeks overnight can take days when our teams are left with a large number of uninterrupted hours to work. The second reason for a shutdown is the type of work we're doing. If you want to learn about the different types of maintenance work, you can watch Your Metro Minute from March 22: Why We Do Maintenance Work.

But to you, "how does this impact my travel?" We want to keep you moving as quickly and safely as possible...but we need to be sure we're providing safe and reliable service. Shuttle buses are the usual way we bridge the gap of train service. Hop off a train, and hop on a bus that will get you to the stations without train service. But Metrobus may be a better option - closer, more direct - than switching from train to bus (sometimes to train again).

Want to plan ahead? Check out our upcoming shutdowns on the status and alerts page.

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March 22, 2023: Why We Do Maintenance Work

This is Your Metro Minute, the expanded edition--a weekly video and blog series for our Metro customers. Want to learn more about our transit system? Now's your chance.

Have you ever waited too long to install updates on your phone? Apps crash, and things may slow down. Installing updates can help fix bugs and keep your applications running smoothly. It's the same for our Metro system. That's why do regular maintenance work.

Customers may think we are only patching up our system. While it's true that we do repairs, let's look at the big picture: we perform regular maintenance as a long-term fixes for rebuilding our system.

Do you feel like we're regularly doing maintenance? We are.

We're fixing everything from grout pad renewal to leak mitigation and more to keep the system safe and running smoothly. We want to keep our Metro system in the best condition possible to deliver good service to our customers.

Here are five common types of maintenance work:

Grout pad renewal: Pieces of concrete that elevate the tracks and keep them in place. This makes for a smoother ride.

Switch replacement: Where trains can move from one track to another. It helps the train get to where it needs to go. Maintaining it prevents delays.

Power maintenance: Longer trains (8-car) use more power. Power maintenance provides electricity for trains and the station systems, including lighting, escalators, and fare machines.

Radio and fiber-optic upgrades: Upgrading our system keeps your cellular service connected, two-way communications for Operations or Metro Transit Police active.

Leak mitigation: clean up and seal any water leaks within the system.

You can check out a look at upcoming maintenance work by visiting the status and alerts page.

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March 8, 2023: Let's Talk about Single Tracking

This is Your Metro Minute, the expanded edition--a weekly video and blog series for our Metro customers. Want to learn more about our transit system? Now's your chance.

If you've spent some time using our rail system, you will hear the words single tracking, and you may have wondered, what does this even mean? Single tracking may also be puzzling for our new customers like tourists. And no, single tracking is not a new dating app from Metro; we've seen this floating around on social. Single tracking is just when we have our trains share one track. For you, it means you should look out for your train on one side of the platform.

We talked to one of our employees to recall a time they experienced single tracking. They told us, "I remember my first time hearing single tracking. I was leaving the office late from L'Enfant Plaza after a long night, and I heard an announcement while on the train say, 'trains will be single tracking from Anacostia to Southern Avenue, and we are going to hold here a few minutes.' Most people didn't seem fazed, and I saw a few faces either look frustrated or unbothered. I thought, there goes making it to meet up with a friend on time since my commute may take an additional five to seven minutes."

Let's break down single tracking even further for you. We use two tracks to keep you moving to your destination. When we have to do maintenance work such as grout pad renewal, our first thought is how to work effectively and provide minimal impact to our customers. Single tracking is one option because we usually do it when less people are traveling, like on weekends and weeknights after 9 pm.

During single tracking, maintenance work happens on one track, and on the second track, trains can keep moving. In order for trains to share the same track, we usually increase the time between trains in each direction.  For example, if the Green Line runs every 8 minutes, with single tracking it may run every 16 minutes.  This keeps trains spaced and avoids someone having to wait for the other train to pass.  The longer the distance trains share the same track, the more minutes apart they need to be.

We challenge you to ask someone you know if they know what single tracking means. Share this video, and subscribe to MetroAlerts at