UPDATED: July 26, 2014 3:29 p.m.

LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) – After decades of waiting, the highly-anticipated Silver Line has begun carrying loads of passengers to and from northern Virginia.

The first Silver Line train left the new Wiehle-Reston East station around noon on Saturday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

Hundreds of eager passengers lined up Saturday morning for a ride on the inaugural train. The line is expected to carry about 25,000 passengers a day.

Metro said Saturday afternoon that nearly 10,000 riders had entered or exited at one of its new stations.

The $2.9 billion first phase of the Silver Line includes five new Virginia stations and stretches through Washington, D.C. into Maryland. Preliminary work has begun on a second phase that will extend the line to Dulles. Phase II is projected to open in 2018.

PHOTOS: Grand Opening

The Silver Line is the first public transportation link between the National Air and Space Museum’s locations in Washington and northern Virginia.

The Washington Flyer bus service that operated between the West Falls Church Metro station and Dulles now follows a new route, running from the Wiehle-Reston station to Dulles International Airport. The route is shorter and cheaper — $5 for a one-way trip instead of $10.

Metro says about 37 percent of existing Metrorail riders will benefit from shorter wait times while 10 percent can expect longer waits.

Proponents say the new stations helps to transform Tysons Corner, Virginia, from a driving destination into a walkable residential and commercial center.

Dane Scott, managing partner of Seasons 52 at Tysons Corner Mall, tells WNEW’s Chuck Carroll that he expects a significant increase in business with the opening of the Silver Line.

“We’re definitely expecting a rise in business and foot traffic from the Metro,” he said.

Scott says the grill and wine bar, which boasts of seasonal offerings where nothing on the menu exceeds 475 calories, specifically opened in Tysons Corner three years ago because of the Silver Line.

“We heard about it several years ago as it was in its beginning stages. We looked around and selected this location,” he said. “it’s just a fantastic market and Tysons Corner is just a booming business district in the country.”

Scott added that many Seasons 52 employees, including himself, eventually plan to take the Silver Line to work. That number is expected to increase when the railway is extended into Loudoun County.

“My staff is highly motivated by [the Silver Line],” he said. “This is an investment for all of us.”

However, the addition of the Silver Line means the subtraction of some Blue Line service.

WNEW’s Kris Ankarlo reports that Blue Line trains will now run every 12 minutes to accommodate Silver Line trains.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel tells WNEW that Yellow Line service has been ramped up for those who don’t mind transferring back and forth between trains.

The Silver Line is the first new line added to the Metro system since 1991 with the opening of the Green Line’s first stations.

WNEW’s Kris Ankarlo, Chuck Carroll and Heather Curtis contributed to this report. Follow Kris, Chuck, Heather and WNEW on Twitter.


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