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 [chnm.gmu.edu], [railwayage.com].
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.
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.
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.
An automated "Doors closing, [ding-dong]" (wav from orenstransitpage.com). 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!".