WASHINGTON -- Metro's Board of Directors approved a plan on Thursday to reshuffle some rush-hour rail service on the Blue, Yellow and Orange lines starting in June. The so-called "Blue Line split," which has been under discussion for years, will free up valuable tunnel space for the crowded Orange Line by rebranding some Blue Line trains from the Franconia-Springfield terminal for Yellow Line service and sending those trains into the District of Columbia via the Yellow Line's Potomac River bridge.
After years of study, Metro has noticed more commuters heading to the central and eastern parts of the District's downtown. At the same time, Metro needs to prepare for future Silver Line service through the crowded Rosslyn-Foggy Bottom tunnel once train service starts on the Dulles rail extension. Eliminating some Blue Line service via Rosslyn would allow more room for Orange Line and future Silver Line trains. It would also reduce the pressure on the track switch at Rosslyn between the Blue and Orange lines, one of the system's biggest congestion points.
But that also means that Metrorail commuters who use the Blue Line via Arlington Cemetery will see a reduction in service as more trains are shifted to the Yellow Line. The rush-hour changes would also mean some Yellow Line rush-hour service to the Green Line's Greenbelt terminal and additional Orange Line service on the Blue Line branch to Largo Town Center, to compensate for the reduction of rush-hour Blue Line service.