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Metrorail On Track - May 2021 Edition

Produced by the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project MAY 2021 EDITION
A nighttime photo at Washington Dulles International Airport Station with the completed glass windscreen. Photo courtesy of W.M. Schlosser Co. Inc.
Silver Line Update: Progress Continues as Leaders Target September Deadline
Phase 2 of the Silver Line, which will extend Metrorail service from the Wiehle-Reston East Station west to Ashburn, will be ready for transfer from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Airports Authority) to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) this fall.
Charles Stark, an Airports Authority executive vice president and head of the rail project, said he is confident that construction will be done around Labor Day and that the project will meet WMATA's safety, reliability and durability criteria.
Readiness for transfer doesn't mean WMATA will immediately take control or establish an opening date. 
What happens next?
WMATA will then conduct what is called "operational readiness testing." This step could take 90 days during which pre-revenue activities, such as training, additional testing, and asset management, take place to determine if the extension meets criteria to set at a revenue operation date.
At this point, that date is anticipated to be in February but is subject to change depending on the Airports Authority's final completion date and the results of complex testing that are needed for Metro operations.
WMATA chief Paul Wiedefeld says that agency's Board of Directors recently approved its Fiscal 2022 budget, which includes funding for opening Phase 2 and all of its six stations: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway (Old Ox Road) and Ashburn.
Barring unforeseen problems, Stark is confident that the team is in place to complete the project on this schedule.
He said the contractors building it "know what needs to be done."
The Phase 2 mainline ­– the tracks including the aerial guideway at Dulles International Airport, all six stations and the associated electrical systems – is being built by Capital Rail Constructors, led by Clark Construction. Hensel-Phelps is the contractor building the Phase 2 rail yard and maintenance facility to support the entire regional rail system on more than 90 acres of Dulles Airport property.
Each contractor missed its respective contract completion date but is striving to be ready for a September turnover.
A major challenge to completion is finishing the connection of Phase 2 with Phase 1 just west of the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station. So far, the project has needed to cancel service at that station to work on the connection. The Airports Authority is preparing to seek a final outage in late spring/early summer of this year.
As the fall date nears, the Airports Authority and WMATA will work together to resolve problems and the Airports Authority will press its contractors to make sure outstanding issues are resolved. Also, as testing continues the Airports Authority remains dependent on WMATA to supply trains for testing at times when those same trains are needed.
According to industry leaders, it is not unusual for a project of the magnitude to experience problems along the way. Many are discovered only as inspections intensify near completion.
There have been significant milestones in recent months.
The complex stormwater control system, which initially delayed the project start by a year, has been completed and not only controls flow but treats stormwater before releasing it into creeks and streams.
The huge 300-plus glass panel windscreen at Dulles Airport Station across Saarinen Circle from the Main Terminal is complete and will shield passengers on the station platform.
Dulles Airport Station sits atop an existing pedestrian tunnel connecting the station and Parking Garage 1 to the Main Terminal. The tunnel has moving sidewalks to ease pedestrian access to and from the terminal. An exhibit showcasing the history of the Dulles area is being prepared for display throughout the tunnel.
Silver Line Project Director Charles Stark Announces Retirement
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Senior Vice President and Silver Line rail project director Charles Stark announced Monday that he plans to retire in July.
In his announcement, Stark noted that most construction of the project is 99 percent complete and the Airports Authority expects to achieve substantial completion of the project by Labor Day, when the new rail line will be ready to turn over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for further testing and training and setting a future date for passenger service.
Airports Authority Senior Vice President and Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Director (DCMP) Charles Stark recently announced that he is retiring in July after seven years on the Project. Photo courtesy of DCMP.
Stark joined the Airports Authority as chief of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project in 2014 to lead construction efforts for Phase 2 of the 23-mile extension of the regional public transit system, following the opening of Phase 1 the same year.
“We thank Charles for his leadership in bringing this large and complex project to this stage,” said Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter. “We look forward to continuing to work with him in the months ahead, and we wish him all the best in his planned retirement.”
After accepting the project and conducting further tests, Metro officials will set a future date for passenger service on Phase 2 of the Silver Line, which connects the Washington region’s Metrorail public transit system to Washington Dulles International Airport and points beyond in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Dulles Airport Station Photo Gallery
Above: The Main Terminal of Washington Dulles International Airport lighted up in the background with the Saarinen Circle parking bowl in the middle and part of the Dulles Airport Station platform in the foreground.
Below: The airport terminal is reflected in the glass windscreen of Dulles Airport Station, along with additional photos of the airport station and terminal.
Photos courtesy of W.M. Schlosser Co. Inc.
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