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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA welcomes back federal workers, advances Bethesda Station improvements


With the federal government shutdown now over, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) welcomed federal workers back to Washington, D.C., this morning by returning to its normal service mix of eight- and six-car trains.

"Good morning, Federal Government! Nice to have you back aboard!" the agency's Twitter account tweeted this morning.

Prior to the start of the shutdown, WMATA — which is not a federal agency — announced it would remain open but would "right size" capacity by dropping to six-car trains on its system to accommodate the expected drop in ridership due to thousands of furloughed federal workers.

Although it continued to operate its regular schedule, the agency ran six trains during the shutdown. In the first few days of October, the agency reported on Twitter that ridership was down about 22 percent.

Also this week, WMATA announced recent progress on its renovation project at Bethesda Station. The agency recently completed $700,000 in improvements by installing a stairway between the mezzanine and platform, as well as new brighter light strips over the mezzanine to improve safety and visibility.

"We continue to be impressed with [WMATA's] investment in Bethesda Station to make it brighter, safer and more appealing to riders," said Roger Berliner, a Montgomery County, Md., council member, in a press release issued by WMATA. "I look forward to the next round of improvements — of even greater scope — that will transform the station into a model for the rest of the system."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/17/2013