Having ridden the Washington area Metro for about 20 years…
I thought I would share some of what I see as a rider. All of these pictures were taken with my phone camera, so they’re not high quality. But they give you some idea of what it’s like to ride the train in the Washington D.C. area.
Welcome to Metro! This is just one of the many markers that stand outside the stations to indicate where you are. The stripes mean “Blue Line” and “Yellow Line.”
Many of the stations are underground. They were designed with vaulted ceilings so that you don’t feel squeezed into a tunnel, but rather in an airy space. But don’t call it a “subway.” The subway is in New York. Wrong city.
Some of the stations are above ground. The architecture of these stations is not particularly inspiring. But they are functional and durable.
This is another above-ground station. It doesn’t look so bad from up here.
If you board at an above-ground station–like I do–you have to deal with the varieties of weather before you get on the train. Not every day is bright and sunny.
Some are just plain chilly.
The trains are usually crowded at rush hour. Sometimes you get a seat; sometimes you don’t.
This is a popular way to pass the time on the train.
The train cars that are still in service were built over several decades ranging from the 1970s to 2006, and they are showing their age. The 4000-series cars, deployed between 1992 and ’94, feature these nasty-ass rubber hand grips that are now deteriorating. Metro has promising brand new cars, and one train of the new 7000-series cars debuted in April 2015. I can’t wait to see more.
Metro can be horribly unreliable. More times than I can count, I’ve been on a train that has been offloaded and taken out of service due to some mechanical problem. This offloading can happen indoors, or…
When you’re offloaded, there is nothing to do but wait. And stare at the walls.
…or the track.
But in spite of all this, I still ride the Metro. It beats driving. And I have lots of time to sit and think.