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Bethesda Beat: Grosvenor Turnbacks on Metro’s Red Line to End Dec. 17

Turnbacks at Silver Spring will continue

BY DAN SCHERE | Published: 2018-10-23 17:28

Metro's Grosvenor-Strathmore station

Daily riders of Metro’s Red Line who use four Montgomery County stations will be in for a faster commute starting in December, thanks to the elimination of train turnbacks at Grosvenor-Strathmore.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told the Montgomery County Council at its meeting on Tuesday that starting Dec. 17, all trains heading out of Washington, D.C. and into the Maryland suburbs will continue on to White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove.

According to a press release, the elimination of the turnbacks will double rush hour service, which means there will be trains every four minutes at the four stations north of Grosvenor.

Metro implemented the turnbacks in 1984 as a measure to deal with a shortage of railcars, with the board voting in 2015 to end the turnbacks by this summer. Since then, Metro has added 583 of its new 7000-series cars, with another 183 scheduled to be added next year, according to The Washington Post. County officials, including County Executive Ike Leggett, wrote to Metro earlier this year requesting that they end the turnbacks because it was resulting in fewer trains for riders between Shady Grove and White Flint, and decreased ridership overall on that portion of the line. Shady Grove is the second-busiest station in Montgomery County with 11,517 average weekday boardings, according to the press release. Silver Spring is the county’s busiest station, with 12,004.)

Trains on the other end of the Red Line will continue to turn around at Silver Spring, with no immediate plans to increase the number of northbound trains to the Forest Glen, Wheaton and Glenmont stations, Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly said.

“Any additional service changes would need to be considered by the Metro Board as part of the FY20 budget process,” she wrote in an email.

During Tuesday’s presentation to the county council, Wiedefeld also announced several other improvements coming to Metro in 2019, including a new stairway at Shady Grove and better cellphone reception inside tunnels.

Wiedefeld said the improvements were largely due to the $500 million per year in dedicated funding agreement that Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia agreed to in the spring to help Metro with its capital improvements. Maryland agreed to provide $167 million per year.

“This project would not have been possible without the commitment to providing a dedicated source of funding for our capital program, and I want to thank our elected leaders throughout the region for making it possible,” Wiedefeld wrote in the press release.

Dan Schere can be reached at

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