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Washington Metrorail (Metro)

The Washington Metro (officially Metrorail) is the rapid transit system in Washington, D.C. and its surrounding suburbs. In addition to being one of the nations best rail transit systems,   It is composed of five color-coded rail lines that run underground primarily within the District and above ground in much of the nearby suburbs. In addition to the District of Columbia, Metro provides service to Montgomery County and Prince George's County in suburban Maryland and  service extends to Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria. in Virginia There are Metrorail stations in most major neighborhoods and at numerous locations

Fares are paid by purchasing a farecard at automated machines within stations. Posted guides will help you calculate the appropriate fare for your ride, but since the farecards are reusable and refillable, it's often easier to not worry about the fare; just put $5-10 on your ticket and refill as needed. Flat-rate Metro passes [33] are also available that give riders an unlimited number of trips within the system for a set number of days. These passes are available in each station at many of the automated machines that sell standard farecards.

Metrorail, an example of late-20th century modern architecture, is one of the regions most popular attractions. In 2007, the design of the Metro's vaulted-ceiling stations was voted #106 on the American Institute of Architects' list of America's Favorite Architecture. 

Metrorail is the second-busiest rapid transit system in the United States, in number of passenger trips, after the New York City Subway. In 1960, the federal government created an agency which became the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority (WMATA)  to develop a rapid rail system.  In 1968, WMATA approved plans for a  system designed by Chicago architect Harry Weese. Construction began in 1969. Since opening in 1976, the Metrorail network has grown to include five lines, 86 stations, and 106.3 miles of track.

The proposed Silver Line will be a 23-mile extension of the Orange Line into Loudoun County, Virginia by way of Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport which is scheduled to open in 2013. 

The rail network is designed according to a spoke-hub distribution paradigm.  50 miles of Metro's track is underground, as are 47 of the system's 86 stations. Metro's rail fleet consists of 1,140 75-foot rail cars with a maximum speed of 59 miles per hour.

 Related Links:  Metro Rail    WMATA Home Page -  for schedules, fares and  other information regarding bus and rail transit

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