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The first test trains were launched yesterday on the 11.3-mile second phase of the Silver Line, which will connect the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) Metrorail system to Dulles International Airport and points in Loudoun County, Virginia. Two two-car trains will polish the third rail from Innovation Center Station through the airport to the end of an aerial guideway west of the airport. Polishing removes the rust that can form on rails that aren't frequently used.After that work is completed, two additional trains equipped for safe-braking tests will be rolled out. Dynamic testing is required before the line begins commercial operation next year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages construction of the $2.7 billion Silver Line extension. Testing is expected to continue for several months. Capital Rail Constructors, the project's design-build contractor, is overseeing the tests.The Silver Line is an overall 23-mile extension of Metrorail. The 11.7-mile first phase extending from East Falls Church, through Tysons and Reston, Virginia, opened in mid-2014 with five new stations.Construction began in 2014 on the second phase, which will run from Wiehle-Reston East Station to the airport area and feature six new stations. WMATA will operate the entire line.
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