L'Enfant Plaza station

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L'Enfant Plaza
WMATA Metro Logo.svg WMATA Blue.svg WMATA Orange.svg WMATA Green.svg WMATA Yellow.svg WMATA Silver.svg rapid transit station
VRE commuter rail station ("L'Enfant")
L'Enfant Plaza upper level, facing outbound.jpg
Location 600 Maryland Avenue, Southwest
Washington, D.C. 20024
690 Virginia Avenue SW (VRE)
Owned by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
  • WMATA Blue.svg
  • WMATA Orange.svg
  • WMATA Green.svg
  • WMATA Yellow.svg
  • WMATA Silver.svg
Platforms 2 side platforms (upper level)
1 island platform (lower level)
Tracks 4 (2 upper level, 2 lower level)
Connections Mainline rail interchange Virginia Railway Express:

Bus transport Metrobus: 5A, 52, 74, A9, V1
Bus transportDC Circulator:
     Eastern Market–L'Enfant Plaza
Bus transportMTA Maryland Commuter Bus
Bus transport Loudoun County Transit
Bus transport OmniRide Commuter
Structure type Underground

98 feet (30 meters) Upper Level

118 feet (36 meters) Lower Level
Platform levels 2
Bicycle facilities Yes
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code F03 (Metro upper level)
D03 (Metro lower level)
Fare zone Zone 1 (VRE)
Opened July 1, 1977; 41 years ago (July 1, 1977) (WMATA)
June 1992; 26 years ago (1992-06)[1][2] (VRE)
Passengers (2017) 20,235 daily [3]Decrease 0.78% (Metro)
Preceding station   WMATA Metro Logo.svg Washington Metro   Following station
Blue Line
Green Line
toward Greenbelt
toward Vienna
Orange Line
Silver Line
toward Huntington
Yellow Line
Peak/rush hour service
toward Fort Totten
Yellow Line
Off-peak service
toward Fort Totten
toward Broad Run
Manassas Line
toward Spotsylvania
Fredericksburg Line

L'Enfant Plaza is a Washington Metro station in the Southwest Federal Center neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The station was opened on July 1, 1977, and is operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). It is a transfer station with two levels: the upper level has two side platforms and is used by the Green and Yellow Lines, while the lower level has an island platform used by the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines.[4] It is also where the Yellow and Green lines converge going north. The station serves five out of the system's six lines, serving the most lines out of any station in the system; only the Red Line does not serve the station. L'Enfant Plaza is the deepest on the Green and Yellow Lines at a depth of 98 feet (30 meters) below ground level. It is the second deepest on the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines behind Rosslyn at a depth of 118 feet (36 meters) below ground level.

L'Enfant Plaza is the last station in the District on the Yellow Line before crossing the Potomac into Virginia on the 14th Street Bridge.



Sign at the street-level entrance to the Metro station in August 2007

The station is located in Southwest Washington, with entrances at the L'Enfant Plaza shopping mall concourse at 9th and D Streets, on D Street between 6th and 7th Streets, and at Maryland Avenue and 7th Street. It is in the center of an area crowded with federal buildings and is a transfer point allowing passengers to easily cross the Potomac between Virginia and central Washington, making it a very busy station. L'Enfant Plaza is named for the French-American planner of Washington, D.C., Pierre L'Enfant.[5]

VRE station[edit]

L'Enfant VRE station

Directly above the Metro station, on Virginia Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets, is the Virginia Railway Express L'Enfant station, which provides commuter rail service both to Fredericksburg and to Manassas Regional Airport in Bristow. Numerous Amtrak trains pass through this station, most without stopping. There is one side platform on the north side of the station with 3 tracks passing through.[6] There are walkways on each side of the station that lead to 6th and 7th Streets respectively.[6]


The station opened on July 1, 1977.[7] Its opening coincided with the completion of 11.8 miles (19.0 km)[8] of rail between National Airport and RFK Stadium and the opening of the Arlington Cemetery, Capitol South, Crystal City, Eastern Market, Farragut West, Federal Center SW, Federal Triangle, Foggy Bottom–GWU, McPherson Square, National Airport, Pentagon, Pentagon City, Potomac Avenue, Rosslyn, Smithsonian and Stadium–Armory stations.[9] Orange Line service to the station began upon the line's opening on November 20, 1978;[10] Yellow Line service to the station began upon the line's opening on April 30, 1983;[11] Green Line service to the station began upon the line's opening on May 11, 1991;[12] and Silver Line service to the station began upon the line's opening on July 26, 2014.[13] This makes the station unique in that the lower level island platform opened before the upper level side platforms.

L'Enfant Plaza was the setting of a 2007 Pulitzer Prize winning article by Washington Post reporter Gene Weingarten. World-famous classical violinist Joshua Bell performed outside the station at rush hour disguised as a street musician. Only seven people stopped to watch him for a minute or more. In total, he made $52.47 performing for 45 minutes, including $20 from the one person who recognized him. Three days earlier, Bell had performed at a concert in Boston where seats started at $100.[14]

On January 12, 2015, smoke began appearing in the station which suspended service at L'Enfant Plaza during the afternoon rush hour. The smoke caused 1 death and 84 people were treated at local hospitals. Green Line and Yellow Line trains were temporarily suspended while Blue Line, Orange Line, and Silver Line trains bypassed L'Enfant Plaza and continued normal service.[15]

Special elevator conditions[edit]

All platforms at the L'Enfant Plaza station are wheelchair-accessible. However, there is only one elevator on the lower level: on its upper floor, it is only able to access the southbound Green and Yellow Lines. This means a wheelchair passenger or other person who cannot use an escalator or must use an elevator, and needs to transfer from the Blue, Orange, or Silver Lines to the northbound Green or Yellow Lines, must take the elevator to the southbound Yellow/Green Lines, continue around the platform to the elevator up to the mezzanine, cross around to the other elevator, then proceed down to the northbound Green and Yellow Lines.

Conversely, a passenger on a northbound Yellow or Green Line train who must use an elevator and wants to transfer to a Blue, Orange, or Silver Line train, must take an elevator up to the mezzanine, go around to the elevator to the southbound platform, take that elevator down to the opposite track, go around to the other elevator and then proceed down to the lower level.

Station layout[edit]

G Street level Exit/entrance
VRE platforms
WMATA mezzanine Fare control and station agent
Side platform, doors will open on the left, right
Track 1 Manassas Line toward Broad Run (Crystal City)
Fredericksburg Line toward Spotsylvania (Crystal City)
Manassas and Fredericksburg Lines toward Union Station (Terminus)
Amtrak and Manassas Line (select trains) do not stop here →
Track 2 Amtrak and Manassas Line (select trains) do not stop here →
Track 3 Amtrak and Manassas Line (select trains) do not stop here →
Green/Yellow Line platforms
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Northbound WMATA Green.svg toward Greenbelt (Archives)
WMATA Yellow.svg toward Mount Vernon Square or Fort Totten (Archives)
Southbound WMATA Green.svg toward Branch Avenue (Waterfront)
WMATA Yellow.svg toward Huntington (Pentagon)
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Blue/Orange/Silver Line platforms
Westbound WMATA Blue.svg toward Franconia – Springfield (Smithsonian)
WMATA Orange.svg toward Vienna (Smithsonian)
WMATA Silver.svg toward Wiehle – Reston East (Smithsonian)
Island platform, doors will open on the left
Eastbound WMATA Blue.svgWMATA Silver.svg Blue and Silver Lines toward Largo Town Center (Federal Center SW)
WMATA Orange.svg toward New Carrollton (Federal Center SW)


Notable nearby locations[edit]


  1. ^ Masters, Brooke A. (April 4, 1991). "Red Tape May Delay Va. Commuter Rail". Washington Post. 
  2. ^ Fehr, Stephen C. (June 18, 1992). "Getting on Track". Washington Post. 
  3. ^ "Metrorail Average Weekday Passenger Boardings" (PDF). WMATA. Retrieved July 31, 2018. 
  4. ^ Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (2010). "Dulles Metrorail Project Overview". Archived from the original on July 27, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ L'Enfant identified himself as "Peter Charles L'Enfant" during most of his life, while residing in the United States. He wrote this name on his "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of the government of t(he) United States ...." (Washington, D.C.) and on other legal documents. However, during the early 1900s, a French ambassador to the U.S., Jean Jules Jusserand, popularized the use of L'Enfant's birth name, "Pierre Charles L'Enfant". (Reference: Bowling, Kenneth R (2002). Peter Charles L'Enfant: vision, honor, and male friendship in the early American Republic. George Washington University, Washington, D.C. ISBN 978-0-9727611-0-9). The United States Code states in 40 U.S.C. 3309: "(a) In General.—The purposes of this chapter shall be carried out in the District of Columbia as nearly as may be practicable in harmony with the plan of Peter Charles L'Enfant." The National Park Service identifies L'Enfant as Major Peter Charles L'Enfant and as Major Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant on its website.
  6. ^ a b Google (December 19, 2010). "L'Enfant Plaza station" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  7. ^ Feaver, Douglas B. (July 1, 1977), "Today, Metro could be U.S. model", The Washington Post, p. A1 
  8. ^ Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (July 2009). "Sequence of Metrorail openings" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 13, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  9. ^ Staff Reporters (June 24, 1977), "Metro's newest stations: Where they are, what's nearby", The Washington Post 
  10. ^ Eisen, Jack; John Feinstein (November 18, 1978), "City-County fanfare opens Orange Line; Ceremonies open new Orange Line", The Washington Post, p. D1 
  11. ^ Lynton, Stephen J. (April 25, 1983), "Trans-Potomac subway segment to open Saturday", The Washington Post, p. B1 
  12. ^ Fehr, Stephen C. (May 5, 1991), "Going was tough, but Green gets going", The Washington Post, p. D1 
  13. ^ "All aboard! Metro's new Silver Line rolls down the tracks for the first time". Washington Post. 
  14. ^ Pearls Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let’s find out.
  15. ^ Zauzmer, Julie; Duggan, Paul; Hermann, Peter (January 12, 2015), "One dead after smoke fills Metro station, forcing evacuation", washingtonpost.com, Washington, DC: The Washington Post, retrieved January 13, 2015 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′05″N 77°01′19″W / 38.884775°N 77.021964°W / 38.884775; -77.021964