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Metro Service to DC’s Dulles Airport Finally Arrives, 60 Years in the Making

This week, riders on the US capital’s new Silver Line will be able to take a train to their planes. Why are direct rail connections to American airports still so rare? 

The dream of taking a train to a plane is within sight at Dulles Airport. 

The dream of taking a train to a plane is within sight at Dulles Airport. 

Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sixty years after Dulles International Airport opened, air travelers in Washington, DC, will be able to do something that residents of scores of other global cities take for granted: Take a train to their plane.

A long-planned 11.5 mile extension of the US capital’s Metrorail system is set to begin serving the airport this week. The second phase of the Silver Line adds six new stations throughout Northern Virginia and marks the culmination of a $3 billion effort to bring rail service to Dulles, whose Eero Saarinen-designed main terminal opened in 1962.