1983: An Addition to the Washington Metro System is Celebrated with Considerable Fanfare

December 17, 1983

In northern Virginia, multiple celebrations marked the opening of an extension of the Yellow Line of the Washington Metro rapid transit system. The debut of this extension, covering 4.2 miles (6.8 kilometers) between National Airport (now officially called Ronald Regan Washington National Airport) and the community of Huntington in Virginia’s Fairfax County, took place seven-and-a-half months after service on the initial segment of the Yellow Line had begun.

With the December opening of that addition to the Yellow Line, the Huntington station earned the distinction of being the first Washington Metro station located beyond the circumference of the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495). The three other three stations likewise serving that newest segment of the Yellow Line were built in the city of Alexandria at Braddock Road, King Street-Old Town, and Eisenhower Avenue.

As part of the first day of operations for that stretch of the Yellow Line, inaugural events were held at each of those four stations. The festivities included ribbon-cutting ceremonies; speeches given by public officials; musical entertainment; crafts sales; and food. The celebration at the King Street-Old Town station featured not only the playing of bagpipes but also the firing of a cannon.

The following day, Washington Post columnist Jack Eisen provided his assessment of this newly opened stretch of the Washington Metro. He wrote that “the entire Yellow Line extension is the most exciting portion of the now 47-mile [75.6-kilometer] system: a marvelous panorama of the Potomac River, a close-up view of Alexandria’s huge Potomac railroad yard, a dramatic sweep as the train crosses the Capital Beltway beyond Alexandria and climbs on a graceful elevated track to its hillside terminal at Huntington.”

The Yellow Line currently encompasses a total of 21 stations and 21.4 miles (34.4 kilometers), with the city of Greenbelt in Maryland serving as the northern terminus and Huntington continuing to be the southern endpoint. The Washington Metro in its entirety encompasses six lines, 91 stations and 117 miles (188 kilometers).

Photo Credit: Ben Schumin (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

For more information on the Washington Metro’s Yellow Line, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Line_(Washington_Metro)

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