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District of Columbia, USA

Date of opening27 Mar 1976
Network length189.9 km (118.02 mi)
Stations95 (91*)
Lines6        Line history
Stations per line15.83
Avg. station distance2,134 m (1.33 mi)
Avg. line length31.65 km (19.67 mi)
*with transfer stations counted once
Numerical data by J. Serradell, 31 Jul 2014
System typeMetro, known as Metrorail
Daily ridership (by J. Kennes)597,000 (as of 2012)
Daily ridership per km (per mi)3,150 (1,950)
Fare collection
TrackRight, gauge: 1435 mm
Power supplyThird rail, 750 V
Air-conditioned trainsYes
Walk-through trains
Rubber-tyred trains
Driverless lines
Platform screen doors
World Metro Database

Official map
Source: pdf, © 2010

To-scale map

Disclaimer: Maps are copyrighted. The previews on this page are for informational purposes only. Please respect copyright and always refer to original maps.

Transit mapsSystem map imagesö - moving trains

Metro Arts and Architecture

Examples of interesting station design:

Rating: 2 stars (silver)  Washington

The Metrorail system of the US capital has been designed by Harry Weese & Associates to be America's grandest subway and was inaugurated in 1976. The Commission of Fine Arts, which had to approve the station design, favoured the coffered vaults [], [].

Photo: Capitol South station, built in 1977.
Works of art can be found in many stations []. All stations above ground in Washington, as well as the underground ones, have been constructed using the same selection of materials consistently throughout the system. A useful feature are the rows of lamps on all platform edges which start flashing when a train approaches.

Photo: Arlington Cemetery station from 1977.

Self-Guided Tour

Try the following tour, recommended by residents or metro enthusiasts:

All underground stations have similar concrete vaults by Harry Weese architects. Note the difference between the original coffered design and a simpler design with larger concrete elements used in later stations. Metro Center as a transfer station consists of two intersecting vaults.

Metro City Hopping

Washington is part of the Washington cluster of metro/subway cities with the following urban rail connections:

  Washington    MARC (commuter metro)    Baltimore      57 km

Relationships with Other Metros

Spanish CAF family
Members: Algiers, Barcelona, Bilbao, Brussels, Delhi, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Madrid, Medellin, Mexico City, Palma de Mallorca, Rome, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Washington,
Characteristics: Similar trains from the same manufacturer.
US Rohr Industries family
Members: San Francisco (BART), Washington,
Characteristics: Similar, spacious trains with carpets.

Lines with a View

A couple of the United States capital's landmarks are visible from elevated sections. You can see the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument from the Yellow Line between L'Enfant Plaza and Pentagon. Best view is going towards Mount Vernon Square at the front of the train. The canopy at the Rhode Island Avenue station frames the dome of the Capitol. It has been reported that the station was built at this angle specifically for this reason.

Photo by John R. Cambron,
Sometimes, you can also see the Kennedy Center and National Cathedral from the National Airport Station.

Photo by

Departure Procedure and Sounds

An automated "Doors closing, [ding-dong]" (wav from A new type of announcement says: "Doors opening, step back to allow customers to exit. When boarding, please move to the center of the car. – [Ding-dong ding-dong] step back, doors closing!".

Handpicked Resources

Washington MATA 2001.Metro at 25: Celebrating the Past, Building the Future. Metros of Washington and some other US and world cities Official website

Generic Links for Washington Metrorail

Wikipedia entry at entry at
Railway Gazette search at
Discussion at
System photos at Google Images
City information at

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