By Marcia McAllister
The first Silver Line Phase 2 trains now are running between Innovation Station and the west side of Dulles Airport; they aren’t shiny new cars and they aren’t carrying passengers.
The very first trains that rolled in early February were actually two-car trains used to grind or polish tracks to get rid of rust that had appeared since the tracks were laid. That’s a common natural occurrence when track is put down and not used right away. Once the rust was gone, testing trains moved in and dynamic testing started.
Dynamic testing takes place on energized tracks and signals a major milestone as the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and its two major contractors continue to build Phase 2 of the rail line. Phase 1 opened in 2014.
The testing is being done by Capital Rail Constructors (CRC), the contractor building the $2.7 billion dollar system, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The testing operations go on for several months.
Meanwhile, construction continues at all six stations and support facilities such as traction power substations and storm water ponds.
Drivers along the Dulles Toll Road now see pedestrian bridges from both sides of highway to the stations are in place. Each station is clearly visible and crews continue to work on the systems that will power the trains.
Project officials have asked the public to remember that the rail line tracks are now “live.” The site is secured, but everyone should pay attention to all warning signs and keep away from secured areas.
“Trains could be running and sections rail can be energized day and night,” according to a CRC spokeswoman.
The Silver line is a 23-mile extension of Washington’s Metro system. Phase 1 runs from the East Falls Church Metrorail Station through four stops in Tysons to the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station. Phase 2 will run from the Wiehle station to Reston Town Center Station, Herndon Station, Innovation Station, Dulles Airport Station and into Loudoun County with stops at Loudoun Gateway Station (near Route 606) and terminating at Ashburn Station (near Route 772).