I used Washington Metrorail between both airports in order to attend the 2023 Freddie Awards on Thursday, April 27, 2023 at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian in Chantilly in Virginia.
Using Washington Metrorail Between Airports
Since the extension of the Silver Line of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority was completed, passengers may now travel between Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport by train. I needed to do just that because the combination of the most convenient and reasonably priced flight was to Washington National Airport — but the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum is near Washington Dulles International Airport.
The last time I was on the Silver Line to head to Washington Dulles International Airport, the Wiehle-Reston East station was the last stop. I then was a passenger on the Dulles International Airport Silver Line Express bus for an additional five dollars — in the rain. That was a whole lot of fun.
That bus service was discontinued on the evening of Wednesday, November 16, 2022 — one day after Phase 2 of the Silver Line was opened to the public.
I had just missed the train on the Blue Line at National Airport Metro Station. I had to wait approximately four minutes for the next train towards Largo to get to the Rosslyn Metro Station to transfer to the Silver Line, which was not bad at all.
The actual time for the trip itself on the Blue Line was eleven minutes.
Once at the Rosslyn Metro Station, I waited five minutes at the most for the Silver Line train to arrive…
…and arrive it did — reliably.
At first glance, the train on the Silver Line appeared to be much nicer than the one on the Blue Line.
Heading towards Ashburn from there, the trip took approximately 45 minutes.
The train also seemed quite clean for public transportation.
Every time the doors of the train opened, I saw small circular decals with the silhouette of an airplane, IAD, and an arrow letting passengers know that they are indeed headed towards Washington Dulles International Airport.
This train definitely seemed like a newer train than the one on the Blue Line.
For those people who are averse to using technology, static maps are available to view the entire route system at a glance.
The configuration of the seating was typical for a subway train.
Considering how thin the seats themselves were on this train, they were reasonably comfortable. I sat in one for 45 minutes; so I should know.
One can not only always know where one is located during the journey; but also what is available at the next stop, which I thought was very handy, useful, and informative.
Another interactive display which shows the progress of the trip is placed above the window of the train, showing the next stop — as well as the last stop so that passengers are reassured that they are headed in the correct direction.
When I arrived at Dulles Airport Station, I neglected to take a photograph of the main terminal of the airport, as passengers have a great view of it from the train station. This was at night; and the airport is on the left in the photograph above.
The reason I did not take a photograph at that moment is because I was not happy about having just calling the hotel property at where I was staying that night to find out when the shuttle bus will arrive and where; and being told that no complimentary shuttle service from the airport was available for the rest of the night — even though complimentary shuttle service was clearly advertised on its official Internet web site.
Once downstairs, an entrance to a tunnel to the terminal takes approximately five minutes to walk.
Final Boarding Call
Give yourself approximately 90 minutes to travel from one airport to the other by train. This includes walking and the transfer between trains.
I lucked out: because of when the airplane of my flight landed, by the time I purchased my ticket on the Washington Metrorail, the time was just after 9:30 in the evening. This meant that the trip cost me a mere two dollars, which I find to be an incredible bargain — and the trip itself was rather convenient for me. I found the Washington Metrorail to be a viable option on which to travel between the two airports.
The entire trip can cost as much as six dollars — which is still a good deal, in my opinion.
Because I travel light and was on the train during an off-peak time, I simply rested my bag on the seat next to me, as few other passengers were on the train that night. Although transporting a lot of luggage is theoretically possible during rush hour, doing so will not be comfortable or easy to do.
I did have to pay an extra two dollars to purchase a Smartrip card on which to put the fare — which reminds me: now that I have my own Smartrip card, I should consider returning the spare one I borrowed from its rightful owner at least eight years ago…
All photographs ©2023 by Brian Cohen.