WASHINGTON Metro held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 8 for its 5 km Blue line extension from Addison Road to Largo, Maryland (RG 1.01 p29). The $434m project includes two new stations, and the line is expected to open at the end of 2004.

On April 19 the WMATA board gave its final approval for the purchase of another 94 metro cars at an estimated cost of $210m, with a $168m option for 80 more. Tenders will be called later this year and the contract awarded in 2002, for delivery from the end of 2004.

MetroRail traffic is running at record levels, peaking at 687000 passengers/ day in mid-April. General Manager Richard White says the extra cars will be needed as part of ’an ambitious plan to double ridership in the next 25 years.’ WMATA has already taken delivery of the first batch of 192 additional cars being built by CAF; 80 cars are due to be delivered by June 30, with the rest arriving by the end of this year.

  • Commuter operator Virginia Railway Express was expected to put into service last month two five-car trains of gallery cars from Chicago’s Metra. Purchased last year under a contract with an option for 10 more, the vehicles were refurbished by Northern Rail Car Co in Milwaukee.