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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA's Metrorail turns 25

In 1976, the United States celebrated its bicentennial anniversary and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metrorail on March 29 began revenue service.

Fewer than 20,000 passengers rode that first day. Trains made 188 trips on the Red Line, Metrorail’s Phase 1, which was 4.2 miles long and had five stations between Rhode Island Avenue and Farrugut North.

Now Metrorail boasts 103 line miles and 83 stations. In first-quarter fiscal-year 2001, its average weekday ridership was 593,000 — compared with Metrobus’ 504,000 average weekday ridership.

And today the system is commemorating its anniversary by kicking off a year-long celebration with radio personalities appearing at three stations, and special 25th Anniversary SmarTrip cards being sold at a special booth set up in the Metro Center station.

Meanwhile, a Metro Prize Patrol will pop up in various stations throughout anniversary day. Prizes to be handed out to riders selected at random include round-trip farecards; Weekly Rail Fast Passes; 12-28 Day Rail Fast Passes; silver anniversary system maps, t-shirts, travel mugs and Anniversary Robot Calculators; tickets from Washington Sports and the Washington Wizards; Capital City Discount Coupons; ESPN Zone Game Cards; and packages from Friends of the National Zoo.

Also today, WMATA will recognize employees with 25 or more years of service.

Later in the year, the National building Museum will feature an exhibit prominently displaying Metrorail and the impact that rail transit has on cities.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/29/2001