Metro: Safety influences Silver Line extension to Largo

Metro says safety is behind a decision to extend the silver line service to Largo rather than ending the line at the Stadium-Armory station.

The transit agency says the track near the Stadium-Armory stop that was planned to turn around trains is short. And it can't be retro-fitted with switches federal regulators are recommending to prevent derailments.

Metro officials say turning trains on the short section would be difficult for all but the most skilled operators.

One of the biggest dangers while riding Metro could be a tired operator.

Today the Metro board learned of potential problems from fatigued drivers and discussed ways to get them to rest up.

Metro's board got the results of a couple of studies today. One about how tired operators pose one of the biggest safety threats. The other informed them of how happy riders are with the service.

A lot of Metro operators work early in the morning and late at night.

Metro conducted a study which found tired drivers actually pose a safety threat. Metro may look into informing its operators about healthier lifestyles if they are working odd hours.

This finding came amidst a customer satisfaction survey Metro conducted.

"Eight out of ten had very positive things to say about their experience riding Metro," says Lynn Bowerbox, Metro assistant general manager.

But one group of passengers is expressing dissatisfaction: those who regularly travel the blue line. When the silver line gets going next August they will take a hit.

"As a result of the silver line coming on there will be fewer blue train trains," says Dan Stessel, a Metro spokesperson.

The Rosslyn tunnel can only handle so many trains and the silver line will take precedence. Orange line passengers are liking how it's working out. The silver line will mean more trains traveling their route.

The first phase of the $5.6 billion silver line is expected to be completed in August. A report says Metro will need an extra $4.6 million in the first year for the revised silver line plan.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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