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Several Metro Blue Line Trains Skipped Arlington Cemetery With Little Warning

Several Blue Line trains barreled through Arlington Cemetery station without picking up passengers this past month as Metro gave little to no notice to riders.

Inbound Blue Line trains have not stopped at the station several times due to repairs, transit agency spokespeople told ARLnow, but riders waiting on the platform have few ways to learn they might as well have been waiting for Godot.

The trains have stranded passengers seven times since March 13, as seen by this reporter and according to alerts from transit tracker Metro Hero.  

The only alert for riders waiting on the platform during a March 19 incident was a loudspeaker announcement which, according to tipsters, was unintelligible on the echoing platform. 

Spokespeople for the transit agency told ARLnow that trains were directed to pass through the station to arrive faster at Rosslyn, and avoid an ongoing bottleneck caused by a “signal problem” at Stadium Armory station.

“Because the issue involved the junction where three lines diverge, fewer trains could get through the area, and the delays were starting to grow as more trains arrived,” said Metro spokesman Ian Jannetta.

To decrease the number of trains headed to the junction, Jannetta said Metro’s Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) also directed Silver Line trains to turn back at Ballston. ROCC also directed three Blue Line trains to skip Arlington Cemetery and arrive earlier to Rosslyn and avoid bottlenecking with the rescheduled Orange Line train also arriving at Rosslyn.

Three more Westbound Blue Line trains have skipped Arlington Cemetery this week, one on Tuesday and two more today (Thursday.) Trains also skipped out on the station on March 13 and 18.

The transit agency did post an alert that Blue, Silver, and Orange line riders may “experience minor delays when traveling through the work area” as upgrades are made to Stadium Armory until March 29.

The alert does not mention trains passing by the station, nor were there signs posted at the station by March 19.

Jannetta said passengers on the selected train were alerted two stops from the cemetery that the train would not be stopping there. He added that the transit agency’s reimbursement for late trips applies to anyone affected.

“Arlington Cemetery ridership during the AM commute is extremely light, which factored into the decision making process,” Jannetta told ARLnow. “On the other hand, the action benefited several hundred customers aboard trains approaching Rosslyn.”

Arlington Cemetery experiences the largest ridership increase of any Metro station during the Cherry Blossom season, per Metro’s now-defunct planning blog. Earlier this month, Metro cancelled some track work in Arlington in anticipation of the arrival of the tourists.

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It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

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Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

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Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

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