Adventure on Metro Rail

Adventure on Metro Rail

Friday night we were looking forward to traveling into our nation’s capital to see our 15-year-old granddaughter make her debut singing a solo in a summer theatre lab performance. Riding Metro seemed like a sensible, even enjoyable way, to go to the event near Mt. Vernon Square. We are fans of Metro. In fact, we rode it on opening day in Reston from this end all the way to the other and back, and have ridden it frequently since. 

When we got to the Wiehle Station, the platform sign showed 24 minutes to next departure … a little longer than we’d hope, but OK. Then an announcement on the PA system warned all passengers that there were delays coming and going on the green and yellow lines due to a “medical emergency” at Fort Totten. Our destination, Mt. Vernon Square, is on the green line, of course. As we waited for the train, the green/yellow line delay message kept being repeated. So, we looked at the Metro map and plotted a small change to our routing. Instead of changing from the silver line at L’enfant Plaza, we’d go to Gallery Place on the red line, but pretty close to Mt. Vernon Square, and walk from there. Between the waits at Wiehle, Metro Center for the change to red, and a 25-minute walk, we arrived at the Theatre 20 minutes late. Fortunately, we were still in time for our granddaughter’s appearance and her superb solo rendition of a song from Caberet! A two-hour journey from our house to the Theatre!            After the show, we walked with our granddaughter and her parents (our son & daughter-in-law) to the Mt. Vernon Square Metro station on the green line. A pleasant 15-minute walk, except for one surprise. Half a block from the theatre there is a lot with 15-20 colorful tents for homeless folks, surrounded by a hedge as we approached. Just our side of the hedge, we noticed a lot of scurrying movement in the grass. Rats! I’d guess there were 40 or 50 within a few feet of the sidewalk, drawn no doubt by food on the ground among the tents. We moved on.

At the Metro station we said goodnight to the family members headed to Maryland and we went to the Virginia-bound train platform. Oh no!  Problems in our direction again — orange line to Vienna just said DLY (delay), while the sign said silver line also DLY. No one seemed to know how much of a delay! So, we waited. After 10 or 15 minutes, DLY changed to 31 minutes. Yech! It was after 10 p.m., another half hour!? No, the sign switched back to DLY. Enough!  We started to walk from the platform, thinking we’d order a LYFT ride-$45!  But, as we headed out, we took a last look at the sign. Lo and behold, silver 7 minutes.  We hustled back and waited. While Vienna still said DLY, our train came and off we finally went.    The trip back to Reston Station was uneventful, except we kept hearing announcements, ones that didn’t bode well for other Metro passengers that evening. Delays on the blue line, line problems still on the orange line, elevators out someplace, and reminders about other delays for planned work on escalators and platform improvements.                     While we noted that every car we had ridden in that evening was one of the new generation of cars, still clean and comfortable, overall it had been a disappointing evening on our subway system. While there had been no accidents or crashes in the system, one has to wonder what exactly were the problems causing all the DLYS? We spent about 3 and one-half hours in the Metro system to go from Reston to Mt. Vernon Square and back, and we may have been among the luckier ones last Friday night. We wish the new WMATA management all the best in achieving its goals of improving overall system operations as well as its safety.

DON’T FORGET that this is National Farmers Market Week! We’ll be celebrating with some special events this Saturday at the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne. The market will be followed this Saturday by one of biggest just-plain-fun events of the year in Reston: The Cardboard Boat Regatta on Lake Anne, with festivities starting about 1 p.m. Come and join the fun!