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D.C.'s fastest highway... is underground!— Pre-War DCTA advertisement

The Metro Mass Transit System, commonly referred to as the Metro, is a pre-War public transit system of Washington, D.C., administrated by the District of Columbia Transit Authority.


An extensive transit network, providing service to Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas. Complemented by an above-ground network of City Liner buses, the network of stations and rail lines were advertised as a faster, more convenient, cleaner commuter option.[1]

With portions of the system semi-automated, Protectrons were utilized for security, sales, and ticket collectors.[2] Wartime regulations also led to a heightened level of security among DCTA personnel, whose security teams were provided with laser pistols as standard sidearms as outlined in the DCTA Employee Handbook.[3] The authority signed contracts with local businesses to facilitate their operations, such as Darren's Discounts, an electronics wholesaler.[4]

By 2277, DCTA metro stations are closed off with chain link fences and warnings to keep out.[5] Metro tickets can be found and will be recognized as valid by functioning Protectrons, while downloadable DCTA Metro maps provide overviews of the metro network, some of which still have power.


The metro system is comprised of rail stations, connected by three metro lines - Red Line, Blue Line, and White Line. The system is located underneath the streets of Washington, D.C., extending outwards to both the north and south. The metro network tunnels provide shelter to raiders and wastelanders alike, alongside dangers such as super mutants and feral ghouls.[6][7]



Stations are identified on the surface level by directional signs and obelisks with the metro symbol. The main stations have a grander entrance, with four escalators leading down to the station entrance. Smaller stations have single concrete staircases that lead down to the entrance underneath a curved roof of glass panels, now broken. Double chain-link gates open to connect the entrance to the station's lobby.

Generally, the stations share a similar configuration. They have a lobby where the customers once bought tickets from a metro employee ("agent") in a ticket booth. Restrooms and offices are located off the lobbies. Some lobbies have vending machines. In a few lobbies, there are status displays that show the power status of stations on the three primary lines in Washington, D.C. There is no display for the surrounding communities.

Customers would walk down a sloping hallway into the mezzanine. In the mezzanine, customers would present their tickets to turnstiles. (Some customers might prefer presenting their tickets to the Protectrons that patrolled the lobby.) On the mezzanines, and lower down on the platforms, the customers could rest on benches.

On the platforms, accessible by escalators, customers waited for their trains. Station identifying signs are posted on either side of the platforms. Some stations are known by more than one name. For example, one station is known both as Anacostia Crossing station and Eastern Market. Further down, in the subway tunnels, signs identified the line.

Metro lines

By 2077, the Red Line, Blue Line, and White Line were the primary lines for the metro.

About this image
Red Line

The Red Line consists of six known stations. It was the first line completed in the system.

Red Line trainyard - Meresti - Friendship - Tenleytown - Dupont - Metro Central - Museum - Anacostia Crossing

The Red Line was the first line completed. This line serves the central DC area and connects it with the northern and southern suburbs through its north-south orientation. The line serves from Friendship in the north to Anacostia Crossing in the south, and interchanges with the White Line at Metro Central. The line is shown on maps to extend further to the north and south.


Trains on this line are serviced from Meresti trainyard in the north. Like most of the network, the Red Line is not in a serviceable condition due to damage to stations, tunnels, tracks, and rolling stock. However, all stations appear to be receiving electricity according to control monitors.

Blue Line
Blue Line trainyard - Warrington - Marigold - Falls Church - Franklin - Minuteman - L'Enfant - Arlington/Wasteland - North Potomac - Jury Street

The Blue Line consists of nine known stations. It was the second line completed in the system.

The Blue Line serves the west of the greater DC area. The line is known to extend from Marigold in the southwest, to as far east as L'Enfant, and then northwest to North Potomac. The line is shown to extend beyond these points on DCTA maps, but it is not known if these were in passenger service, links to service depots, or were used for long-distance services.

The Blue Line does not share any stations with either of the other metro lines; although the line appears to cross the White line near Arlington Wasteland (on the blue line) and Foggy Bottom station (on the white line) on the system map, the lines are grade-separated, meaning a service linking the lines would not be possible without further construction.

Trains on the Blue Line were serviced from the Warrington trainyard, which also acted as the line's terminus in Virginia.


Like most DC metro lines, the Blue Line is currently not in a serviceable condition due to damage to stations, tunnels, tracks, and rolling stock. However, large parts of the line can be traversed on foot, with the exception of irradiated parts of the line, such as near L'Enfant and Warrington trainyard, and certain waterlogged sections.

Most stations still have access to electricity according to control monitors; additionally, some stations retain their Protectron security guards; however, some stations have become home to groups of feral ghouls.

White Line
Platz - Arlington - Foggy Bottom - Metro Central - Vernon Square - Becton - Abernathy - Takoma

The White Line consists of eight known stations and was the last line completed in the system.

This line extends from Takoma in the northeast through the center of the city (meeting the Red Line at Metro Central) through to Platz in the west. Although the White and Blue Lines cross, this crossing is on different grades preventing any interchange of services or stations. Like the other lines, the route map appears to extend into Maryland and Virginia.


Like most of the network, the white line is not in a serviceable condition due to damage to stations, tunnels, tracks, and rolling stock. However, all stations appear to be receiving electricity according to control monitors.

Other stations

There are many stations in the Capital Wasteland whose connection to these three lines is not fully understood. This is due to the extensive damage that is visited upon these stations. These stations include the Fairfax Metro station and Bethesda underworks.[8] Other stations had their entrances so completely destroyed that any attempt at locating them is impossible. Another station, Union Station is mentioned in Fallout 76.[9]

Metro cars

Derelict metro cars sitting in a railyard.

These cars were introduced with the modernization of the metro. Each car is an independent unit with a passenger compartment that can be connected to another car by a coupling. A specially built car, the engine car, had an engineer's compartment placed ahead and above the passenger compartment. At a minimum, the engine car could tow four cars.

Most of the cars, save for the engine cars, survived the War. The engine cars were either destroyed completely or salvaged by later visitors to the metro. It's possible that the engine cars were buried in the tunnel collapses. The appearance of engine cars is preserved in advertisements created for the metro.

The metro is unlike many real-world subway systems. The use of an "engine car" towing non-powered cars is unusual, most real-world versions were phased out as the size of engine motors decreased (an example of such an engine used on the London Underground still exists). Real subways tend to use multiple unit trains where two or more cars are permanently joined, and then assembled into longer trains. Each group of cars has a drivers' cab at each end, removing the need to detach the engine at the end of the line, turn it around and reconnect it to the front of the train for the return journey

While a real subway carries its own engines under each car, it is usually not self-propelled, and instead collects electricity via a third or fourth rail or pantograph and overhead wires.


  • The Pip-Boy world map may show a different name for stations than are shown on local maps.
  • When fast traveling, the map marker and where one arrives may not be one and the same, as seen with both Georgetown West and Dupont stations.
  • On Sundays, all passengers were allowed to ride for free.[10][11]
  • Unlike the ruined posters found in game, the "D.C.'s fastest highway" adverts seen on loading screens do not include station names.


The Metro Mass Transit System appears only in Fallout 3.

Behind the scenes

  • The metro is based on the real world Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
  • Many stations are based on real life equivalents, including Anacostia, Dupont Circle, Falls Church, Foggy Bottom, Friendship Heights, L'Enfant, Metro Central, Mount Vernon Square, Takoma, and Tenleytown. Many aspects of the interior design are also aesthetically similar.
  • The D.C.'s fastest highway advertisement mentions two real world stations, Smithsonian and Eastern Market, that are not found in-game.



  1. "Ride the metro today, and avoid the city's growing pollution and congestion. Our extensive lines will get you anywhere you want to go, with half the holdups."
    (DCTA advertisement)
  2. "See a ticket agent today for our special monthly ticket, and save!"
    (DCTA advertisement)
  3. DCTA laser firearms protocol
  4. Robot repair center terminal entries; Sector A emergency termina, Note from Management regarding Sector B
  5. Keep Out signs
  6. "The only way to reach the Super Mutant-occupied D.C. ruins is by traveling underground, usually through the abandoned Metro tunnels."
    (Fallout 3 loading screen)
  7. Notes on Pulling the Sky Down: The Level Design of Fallout 3: "The most predominant of these connective areas are the metros. Metro is the colloquial term for the D.C. subway system, operated by the fictional DCTA organization. We envisioned a pre-war system of stations and tracks which mimics D.C.'s real-world public transit system, and used that to guide our development of the DCTA metro. While many tunnels have collapsed and stations have been rendered inaccessible, the player can still make use of in-world cues such as maps and station signs to navigate the innards of D.C. The largest continuous set of tunnels allows the player to reach almost any neighborhood without needing to go above ground, negotiating derelict train tunnels and frequently passing through mingled areas such as collapsed basements and natural caves exposed within the decaying underground. This also helped us to contrast the overworld and underground of D.C. through gameplay. While the ruins of D.C. are overrun with supermutants and unchecked mercenary patrols, the underground areas are refuge to generally-weaker denizens such as feral ghouls and radroaches, though it is harder to avoid conflict in these claustrophobic confines."
  8. Station map
  9. Paige's journal, entry 1
  10. Bottom-left corner of the "Commuting Calamity" poster loading screen
  11. Fallout 3 promotional content/Prepare for the Future website - Metro advertisement