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Yellow Line (Washington Metro)

Yellow Line
Yellow Line train at Huntington station
Type Rapid transit
System Washington Metro
Status Operating
Locale Fairfax County, Alexandria, and Arlington, VA
Washington, D.C.
MD (Peak hours only)
Termini Huntington or Franconia Springfield in Virginia (South)
Mount Vernon Square (North) - Peak hours terminus for most trains
Fort Totten (North) - off-peak hours.
Greenbelt (North) - Limited peak hours service only
Stations 17
Opened April 30, 1983 (April 30, 1983)[1]
Operator(s) Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Character At-grade, elevated, and underground
Line length

15.07 mi (24.3 km)

(Includes Fort Totten extension)
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 4 ft 8 14 in (1,429 mm)
Electrification Third rail
Route map
Amtrak, VRE to Fredericksburg
Cameron Run
Van Dorn Street
Eisenhower Avenue
CSX RF&P, Amtrak, VRE to Manassas
Alexandria Yard (WMATA)
to Franconia-Springfield
RF&P, Amtrak, VRE to Fredericksburg
King Street–Old Town
Braddock Road
Four Mile Run
National Airport
RF&P, Amtrak, VRE to Washington
Crystal City
Pentagon City
I‑395 (Shirley Highway)
to Largo Town Center
I‑395 / US 1 (Shirley Highway)
Fenwick Bridge over Potomac River
I‑395 (Southwest Freeway)
to Branch Avenue
L'Enfant Plaza
L'Enfant Plaza (VRE) RF&P: Amtrak and VRE
Gallery Place
Mount Vernon Square
Shaw–Howard University
U Street
Columbia Heights
Georgia Avenue–Petworth
Fort Totten
West Hyattsville
CSX Capital Subdivision, MARC to Washington
College Park
Greenbelt B30 to BWI Airport
I-95 / I-495 (Capital Beltway)
Greenbelt YardCSX Capital Subdivision, MARC to Baltimore
The WMATA system map shows the Yellow Line running from Huntington to Fort Totten, with rush-hour extensions to Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt.

The Yellow Line of the [5][note 1] In non rush/peak hours, almost all regularly scheduled trains run to Fort Totten.

As a result of Metro's "Rush Plus" services, started on June 18, 2012, the Yellow Line now sees some peak hours trains ending at [5]

The line starts in Fairfax County, Virginia, crosses the Capital Beltway, joins the Blue line, and goes through Alexandria and Arlington, it leaves the Blue Line as it crosses the Potomac River, and continues north into the District of Columbia, and then Maryland, during peak hours.

The line shares tracks with the Green Line from L'Enfant Plaza northward to Fort Totten and Greenbelt. It is a quick link between downtown Washington and National Airport, and shares nearly all of its track with either the Green or Blue Line. The Yellow Line has only two stations that are not shared by any other lines (Eisenhower Avenue and Huntington), and only two sections of track that are not shared by any other lines – the section at the south end of the line, and the section between the Pentagon and L'Enfant Plaza stations, crossing the Potomac.


  • Route 1
  • History 2
    • Extensions 2.1
  • List of stations 3
  • Future 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


The Southern terminus of the Yellow Line is adjacent to Kings Highway (

  • Yellow Line

External links

  • Schrag, Zachary (2006). The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.  

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c d e "WMATA History" (PDF). WMATA. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ Thomson, Robert (January 14, 2007). "The Way to Expand Transit". Washington Post. pp. page C02. Retrieved March 23, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Metrorail Timetable: Weekend" (PDF). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. May 26, 2007. Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Metrorail Timetable: Weekday Evening" (PDF). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. April 14, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b "Metro Pocket Guide 50.532 (REV.3/11)" (PDF). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Metro Washington D.C. Beltway (Map) (2000-2001 ed.). American Automobile Association. 2000. 
  8. ^ "Potomac Yards Metrorail Station EIS". Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Approved Fiscal 2009 Annual Budget" (PDF). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. 2009. p. 80. 
  10. ^ Schrag at p. 188.
  11. ^ Schrag at p. 33-38.
  12. ^ Schrag at p. 39.
  13. ^ Schrag at p. 42.
  14. ^ Schrag at p. 55.
  15. ^ Schrag at p. 112.
  16. ^ Schrag at p. 117.
  17. ^ a b Schrag at p. 217.
  18. ^ a b Schrag at p. 214.
  19. ^ Schrag at p. 214-16.
  20. ^ The Schumin Web Transit Center. "July 4 Service". Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  21. ^ Schrag at p. 258.
  22. ^ Layton, Lyndsey (April 20, 2001). "GOP Ups Pressure on Metro". Washington Post. 
  23. ^ Layton, Lyndsey (December 1, 2001). "House Votes to Require 'Reagan' at Metro Stop". Washington Post. 
  24. ^ 2002 Transportation Appropriations Act, Public Law 107-87, section 343, Statutes at Large 115 (2001) 833.
  25. ^ "Yellow Line to extend to Fort Totten; off-peak Red Line turn backs at Grosvenor to end." (Press release). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. April 20, 2006. Retrieved March 22, 2007. 
  26. ^ "Yellow Line to Fort Totten expected to be approved". Washington Examiner. April 20, 2006. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Potomac Yard Metrorail Station EIS". Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Gallery Place/Chinatown - Metro Center Pedestrian Passageway" (PDF). Washington Metropolitan Area Transity Authority. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 


  1. ^ Peak hours are 5 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.[6]


See also

A second improvement project involves building a pedestrian tunnel to interconnect the Gallery Place station with Metro Center. A July 2005 study proposed connecting the eastern mezzanine of Metro Center with the western mezzanine of Gallery Place that are only one block apart. The proposed connection would reduce the number of passengers that use the Red Line to transfer between the Yellow Line and the Blue and Orange lines at Metro Center. As of 2011, the project remains unfunded.[28]

On November 16, 1995, WMATA and the developer of the Potomac Yards area of Alexandria, Virginia, signed an agreement to construct a new station that will be financed by the developer.[1] As of February 2011, WMATA was taking public comments in order to prepare a draft environmental impact statement for the station.[27]


Station Code Opened Other Metro
Huntington C15 1983 Southern terminus
Eisenhower Avenue C14 1983
King Street – Old Town C13 1983 Blue Line transfer station for the Blue Line (southern)
Braddock Road C12 1983 Blue Line
Potomac Yard C11 2018 (Projected) Blue Line
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport C10 1977 Blue Line
Crystal City C09 1977 Blue Line
Pentagon City C08 1977 Blue Line
Pentagon C07 1977 Blue Line Transfer station for the Blue Line (northern); crosses Potomac River via Fenwick Bridge
L'Enfant Plaza F03 1977 Green Line Orange Line Blue Line Silver Line transfer station for the Blue, Orange, Green, and Silver Lines.
Archives – Navy Memorial – Penn Quarter F02 1983 Green Line
Gallery Place F01 1976 Green Line Red Line transfer station for the Red Line
Mount Vernon Square E01 1991 Green Line Terminus for most peak hours trains
Shaw – Howard University E02 1991 Green Line
U Street / African-American Civil War Memorial / Cardozo E03 1991 Green Line
Columbia Heights E04 1999 Green Line
Georgia Avenue – Petworth E05 1999 Green Line
Fort Totten E06 1993 Green Line Red Line Terminus in off-peak hours. Transfer station for the Red Line (full-time) and Green Line .
West Hyattsville E07 1993 Green Line Yellow Line (rush only)
(rush only) Yellow Line Green Line
College Park – University of Maryland E09 1993 Green Line Yellow Line (rush only)
Greenbelt E10 1993 Green Line Yellow Line (rush only) Rush+ Terminus, peak hours service only.
     Rush+ only  •       Future station

The following stations are along the line, from south to north. Stations highlighted indicate service peak hours Monday through Friday.

List of stations

In 2006, Metro board member Jim Graham and D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams proposed re-extending Yellow Line service to Fort Totten or even to Greenbelt, which was the originally planned northern terminus for the line. Their proposal did not involve construction of any new track, because either extension would run along the same route as the existing Green Line and would thus relieve crowding on that line. Suburban members of the board initially resisted the proposal. Through a compromise that also increased service on the Red Line, on April 20, 2006 the WMATA board approved a Yellow Line extension to the Fort Totten station during off-peak hours. An 18-month pilot program began on December 31, 2006, at a cost of $5.75 million to the District of Columbia.[25][26] The pilot program was made a permanent service.[6] Starting June 18, 2012, the Yellow Line was extended as part of the Rush+ program. During peak hours, the Yellow Line is extended to Greenbelt on the northern end and several trains are diverted to Fraconia-Springfield on the southern end.


In 1998, Congress changed the name of the Washington National Airport to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport with the law specifying that no money be spent to implement the name change. As a result, WMATA did not change the name of the National Airport station (which never included the full name of the airport). In response to repeated inquiries from Republican congressmen that the station be renamed, WMATA stated that stations are renamed only at the request of the local jurisdiction. Because both Arlington County and the District of Columbia were controlled by Democrats, the name change was blocked. Finally, in 2001, Congress made changing the station's name a condition of further federal funding.[21][22][23][24]

One of hundreds of signs that were reworded from just "National Airport"

The Yellow Line was originally planned to follow a slightly different route in Virginia. The plan would have sent Yellow Line trains to Franconia–Springfield, with Blue Line trains serving Huntington. This was changed due to a shortage of rail cars at the time of the completion of the line to Huntington. Because fewer rail cars were required to operate Yellow Line service than would be required to run Blue Line service out to Huntington – due to the Yellow Line's shorter route – the line designations were switched. From 1999 to 2008, the Yellow Line operated to Franconia–Springfield on July 4, as part of Metro's special service pattern on that day.[20]

Service on the Yellow Line began on April 30, 1983, adding Archives to the system and linking the two already-built stations of Gallery Place and Pentagon with a bridge across the Potomac River. It was extended beyond National Airport by four stations to Huntington on December 17, 1983, the first station outside of the Capital Beltway.[1] When the Green Line link to U Street opened on May 11, 1991, it acted as an extension of the Yellow Line until the southern Green Line branch was completed.[1][17] When Green Line service began, the Yellow Line was truncated at Mount Vernon Square, where a pocket track exists to relay trains.[1]

While a cut-and-fill tunnel for Yellow Line was built under 7th Street and U Street, both street traffic and pedestrian access on those streets were difficult.[17] The result was the loss of the traditional retail businesses along the route. The downtown segment of the line was originally projected to open in September 1977.[18] Obtaining approval of the District of Columbia and Prince Georges' County of the exact alignment of the Yellow Line north of U Street delayed construction. Originally, the ARS called for the line to be placed in the median strip of the planned North Central Freeway,[18] but after that road was cancelled, the route of the replacement subway tunnel became controversial, resulting in years of expensive delays.[19]

Planning for Metro began with the Mass Transportation Survey in 1955 which attempted to forecast both freeway and mass transit systems sufficient to meet the needs of the region projected for 1980.[11] In 1959, the study's final report included two rapid transit lines which anticipated subways in downtown Washington.[12] Because the plan called for extensive freeway construction within the District of Columbia, alarmed residents lobbied for federal legislation creating a regional transportation agency with a moratorium on freeway construction through July 1, 1962.[13] The new agency, the National Capital Transportation Administration, issued a 1962 Transportation in the National Capital Region report, which did not include the route that became the Yellow Line.[14] A central route under 7th Street in downtown was only added in 1967 primarily to serve the "inner city".[15] In March 1968, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) board approved its 98-mile (158 km) Adopted Regional System (ARS) which included the Yellow Line from Franconia and Blacklick Road (in Springfield) to Greenbelt.[16]


Crossing the Potomac River from Virginia on the Yellow Line, with the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial in the background

The Yellow Line needs 10 six-car trains (60 rail cars) to run at peak capacity.[9] Internally, the Yellow Line in Virginia was called the "Huntington Route" (C) and the route through the District of Columbia and beyond to Greenbelt as the "Greenbelt Route" (E).[10]

[7] The tunnel then bends eastward under Rock Creek Cemetery and Fort Totten Park to emerge just before entering the lower level of the Fort Totten station. The track continues northeast as just the Green Line to the Greenbelt terminus.[7] The tunnel then turns toward the northeast under Park Road and New Hampshire Avenue.[7] The joint Yellow Line — Green Line tunnel continues north through downtown Washington under 7th Street, turns west under Florida Avenue and U Street, and then north under 14th Street Northwest.[7].L'Enfant Plaza The tunnel merges with the Green Line tunnel under 7th Street Southwest just south of the [7].Washington Channel and crosses under the Jefferson Memorial At the end of the bridge, the Yellow Line re-enters a tunnel near the [7]

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