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Asset Category: Track and Structures

Metro’s track and structure assets include more than just the railroad track. Assets include the steel running rail that guides Metro’s train cars, the cross ties and fasteners that hold the rail in place, the ballast bed that supports the cross ties and the third rail that provides power to the train. Structures also refer to the retaining walls that protect the track bed and underground tunnels, the concrete pads that keep the track bed properly elevated and the bridges that span roads and bodies of water. Together, track and structure assets comprise the 106 mile long Metrorail system: 51 subway miles (below ground), 46 surface miles (above ground) and 9 aerial miles (bridges). This totals 212 miles of track, since the rail system has two tracks. Metro Stations Opening by Year

Metro’s oldest rail segments date back to 1976, when the system opened, and require major track and structural rehabilitation (see graphic). The maintenance needs of these capital assets have accelerated due to increased train frequency, extended operating hours and longer trains (the 4-car trains used when the system opened have been replaced with 6- and 8-car trains). The region makes good use of this infrastructure. Compared with other large U.S. transit agencies, Metrorail moves more passengers per operating mile than the national average (excluding New York City transit).4 Metro wears down its track faster than many heavy rail systems in the U.S. including BART (San Francisco), Chicago Transit Authority and MARTA (Atlanta). On an average weekday in FY 2009, there were about 750,000 passenger trips on Metrorail or 3,537 pas-

senger trips per track mile per day.1 Projections show average weekday passenger trips increasing by about 20% to 910,000 trips by 2020 and to 970,000 trips by 2030. As Metrorail ridership grows, additional investment in track and structures will be critical to the system’s safe and reliable operations.

The capital investments needed to maintain Metro’s existing track and structures come to almost $600 million over the next ten years (FY 2011 – 2020) and fall into two project types: track rehabilitation and station/tunnel rehabilitation. A brief description of each project type follows.

Track Rehabilitation - $540M

Station/Tunnel Rehabilitation - $46M

YOE, $ Millions


Source: FederalTransit Administration NationalTransit Database, 2005 Annual National ransit Summaries and rends.

46 Capital Needs Inventory

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