After fanfare, long-awaited Silver Line debuts shortly after noon

    It was standing room only on the inaugural Silver Line train Saturday. Photo: Kris Van Cleave/WJLA

    RESTON, Va. (AP) - The silver line is open.

    The long-awaited addition to the Metro system opened Saturday, and cheers went up as the crowded first train departed the Reston station a few minutes after noon for its initial run.

    "Welcome aboard the silver line. It's time to ride," said Metro General Manager Richard Sarles during a grand opening ceremony. Also attending the ribbon-cutting were U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray.

    The $2.9 billion first phase of the silver line includes five stations: Wiehle-Reston East, Spring Hill, Greensboro, Tysons Corner and McLean. The 11.7 miles of new track stretches from Reston through Tysons Corner and connects with the orange line at the East Falls Church station.

    Silver Line ridership for Saturday (12p-3a): 32,147 people entered or exited at one of the five new stations. #silverline #wmata

    — @wmata (@wmata) July 27, 2014

    The silver line has been planned for decades and was nearly scuttled at various times as numerous roadblocks emerged in the process. Work is just beginning on the project's next phase, which will carry the silver line to Dulles International Airport and beyond, at an additional cost of $2.7 billion. That phase of the project is projected to open in 2018.

    The silver line is the first new line to be added to the Metro system since the 1991 opening of the green line's first stations. New stations have been opened since then, but they've been extensions of existing lines.

    The Metro system opened its very first stations, five stations on the red line, in 1976. The system now has six lines: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and silver.

    Metro said almost 10,000 people had entered or exited the Metro system at one of the new silver line stations during the first several hours of the line's operation.


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