Metro's Silver Line extension to Dulles is now open: What you need to know

The long-awaited Silver Line extension opens on Nov. 15, including a stop at Dulles International Airport. 

The Silver Line Extension project is the largest expansion of Metrorail since the system's inception. Six new stations will be added to the Silver Line: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn.

SEE MORE: Metro hosts silver ticket contest for first Silver Line extension ride

The extension, which will extend over 25 miles west of D.C. into Northern Virginia, has been in the works for years after being formally approved in 2004. Even before then, planners envisioned a line connecting Dulles to the city when the airport was built in 1962. The project was originally scheduled to open in 2018, but was saddled with years of delays. 

When does service begin on the new line? 

The first Silver Line train will depart the new Ashburn Station at 1:54pm on Nov. 15. 

The first westbound train to ride the new extension will leave the Downtown Largo station at 12:51pm. It will arrive at Wiehle-Reston East at 2:02pm before servicing the new stations. 

Where does the Silver Line extension go? 

The Silver Line extension will continue beyond the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station to Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn. 

The extension is nearly 11.5 miles, and will take 22 minutes between Wiehle-Reston East and Ashburn stations. To ride the full length of the Silver Line from Ashburn to Downtown Largo will take about 93 minutes. 

What will it cost to ride?

The cost of riding the Silver Line depends on the time of day and distance traveled. The maximum that the Metro charges is $6 on weekdays. After 9:30pm on weekdays and all day on weekends, Metro fares are a flat $2. 

You can use Metro's Trip Planner to price out your ride. 

How often will trains come? 

Silver Line trains will operate every 15 minutes. Eventually, as more trains are incorporated back into service (like the 7000-series trains) waits will shorten to every 10-12 minutes during the day. 

The Silver Line will operate during the same hours as the rest of the Metro system:

  • Monday through Thursday from 5 a.m. until midnight
  • Friday from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m.
  • Saturday from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m.
  • Sunday from 7 a.m. until midnight

How will I get to Dulles via the Silver Line? 

The extension's opening is just in time for Thanksgiving and holiday travel. Travelers headed to Dulles will follow an underground walkway between the station and the terminal that takes about five minutes to complete. 

The ride from Metro Center in downtown D.C. to Dulles will take 53 minutes. From Rosslyn, the ride to the airport will take 45 minutes. Taking the Metro could be an issue if you're flying in or out very early or very late - the vast majority of flights arrive during the hours Metro is open, but not all. Check the first/last train times here.

Can I still take the bus to Dulles? 

Once the extension opens, most buses serving the airport will stop service soon after. The popular bus route 5A, which connects L'Enfant Plaza and Rosslyn to Dulles in under an hour for $7.50, will be canceled starting Nov. 16. The Washington Flyer Silver Line Express bus, which ran between the airport and the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, will be discontinued after Nov. 15. The Fairfax Connector is discontinuing the 981 route between Wiehle-Reston East and Dulles on Nov. 16. 

The Fairfax bus system will continue to serve the airport with two new routes:

  • The 952, with stops at Wiehle-Reston East, Reston Town Center and Herndon stations
  • The 983, between the Innovation Center station and Dulles.