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The station is located across Smith Boulevard from the B and C terminals from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA); the airport shuttle bus carries people to and from Terminal A. The mezzanines are directly connected to the B and C terminals by pedestrian walkways to Level 2 (gate level).
The station platform is elevated and covered, the last above ground on the Yellow Line heading into Washington, D.C. It is one of the only two stations to have three tracks (the other being West Falls Church-VT/UVA). When service began on July 1, 1977, it was the southern terminus of the Blue Line, and the center track was used for relaying trains. During construction of a second canopy at the station, Metro began running trains through the center track even though it had not been constructed for standard operations, and on January 20, 2003, a Blue Line train derailed at the switch. No injuries resulted, but the accident delayed construction by a number of weeks.
Renaming controversy Edit
The station retained its original name after the airport was renamed in 1998 after former President Ronald Reagan. In early 2001, a letter signed by 24 members of Congress requested WMATA rename the station to conform. However, according to a Metro policy adopted in 1987, groups seeking to rename a station were required to pay the cost of replacing signs and maps. The Arlington County government, which could have made the change, demurred—the price was estimated at $400,000—and WMATA subsequently declined to rename the station on April 19, 2001. Infuriated, Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia threatened to withhold federal funding from the agency unless the station was renamed. Congress ultimately voted to require the renaming on November 30. According to then-General Manager Richard A. White, Metro paid to complete the renaming.
During the 2003-2004 renovation of the station, new signage was installed. Similar signage can be found at the Gallery Place-Chinatown, New York Avenue, Morgan Boulevard, and Largo Town Center stations.
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