Metrorail riders take note: The transit agency has big plans for track work on the Orange, Blue and Red lines. It will single-track trains in multiple locations this weekend and for the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend when it also will shut down train service between the Rosslyn, Farragut West and Foggy Bottom stations. Then in February, another shutdown will occur at the Smithsonian station on Presidents' Day weekend. And other closures and slowdowns are to come, the agency warns.

"In 2011, our customers are going to see a very aggressive rail maintenance campaign," said Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel. "Because there is simply a tremendous amount of work needed to be done as the system ages."

In addition to the repairs, Taubenkibel said the system will require extensive single-tracking for construction of the Silver Line to Tysons Corner as part of the Dulles Rail project.

The agency has been rehabilitating the train system from the outer edges of the rail network inward, so the construction delays are now affecting more riders as work reaches the inner core.

Plan ahead for next weekend
Metro track work means delays from 10 p.m. Jan. 14 to 5 a.m. Jan. 18 on several lines:
Full closures
Orange, Blue lines: Foggy Bottom station will be closed, with free shuttle buses running between Rosslyn and Farragut West.
Orange Line: Between West Falls Church-VT/UVA and East Falls Church stations for Dulles Rail construction
Blue Line: Between the Van Dorn Street and Braddock Road stations for construction related to the Wilson Bridge project
Red Line:
» Between Friendship Heights and Van Ness-UDC to fix leaky tunnels and add bumpy tiles to the Tenleytown platform
» Between New York Avenue-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U and Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood

Taubenkibel says work today will be good for riders tomorrow, offering "a smoother ride for many years to come." Much of the track work will replace original equipment from when the system opened, he said, so riders will pass over new sections of track once it's finished.

But it does mean delays. Taubenkibel warns riders to budget at least 30 minutes extra if passing through the work zones.

Trains will share a single track in four locations this weekend, two each on the Red and the Blue lines.

Then the big work begins next weekend, beginning at 10 p.m. next Friday and lasting until regular commuting resumes Tuesday morning.

Friday night revelers from Virginia should expect to take a shuttle bus to get home on the Orange and Blue lines -- or use the Yellow Line as an alternative. And those attending events downtown at the Verizon Center or the Convention Center over the weekend should plan ahead.