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D.C.'s fastest highway is underground!”
The Metro was a pre-War rapid transit system in Washington, D.C. and its neighboring environs in Maryland and Virginia. This extensive network of underground rails and tunnels provided the inhabitants of the region with a fast and cheap method of travel.
Although the system was abandoned and fell into disuse after the Great War, the quality of its construction allowed it to survive two centuries in fairly good condition, providing the means for travelling between the districts of D.C. and its neighboring communities, even if above ground routes are unavailable.
After being in operation for many years, the Metro was modernized in the mid-21st century with the assistance of Vault-Tec Industries and RobCo Industries. Following these renovations, the Metro was managed by the District of Columbia Transit Authority. The subway tunnels were constructed of more durable material with improved lighting and safety features. Three new routes were added to the Metro; these routes are the Blue Line, the Red Line, and the White Line. These lines were built upon existing stations, and new stations were built for expanding the network. The drive for this expansion originated from the need for alternate city transport after observing an increase in congestion and pollution from greater car ownership.
Protectrons were added to the Metro in the modernization program. They are programmed for defending the Metro from a variety of threats, including muggers, trespassers and communist invaders. These machines are usually located in a security office off the station lobby and can be activated via a nearby control terminal. Once the protectron is activated, it will head out to patrol the lobby and attack any target (including the player) that does not have a valid metro ticket.
In the Great War of 2077, the Metro was badly damaged with many stations were partly or even fully destroyed. Following the war, many survivors sought refuge in the subways. Over the next two centuries, the original survivors died from radiation poisoning, or metamorphosed into ghouls. Other groups of survivors, the super mutants and the raiders, entered the subway looking for a base from where they can practice hit-and-run attacks on caravans, traders, and travelers. Some groups, like the raiders, have formed small settlements and encampments in the Metro. Occasionally, there is open conflict between the raiders and the ghouls, with the ghouls often winning.
In 2277, tunnels can be used to move easily between the various neighborhoods and districts in the area, although this method is hampered by the super mutants, raiders, and feral ghouls that have taken over many parts of the tunnels.
 Metro stations
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, now broken, glass panels. Double chain link gates 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 which 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.
The Red Line was the first line completed. This line has a north-south orientation. Stops on this line include Meresti Station, Tenleytown/Friendship Station, Dupont Circle Station, Metro Central, Museum Station, and Anacostia Crossing. The northern terminus for the Red Line is Meresti Trainyard. Somewhere south of the Anacostia River, the Red Line ends in Virginia. At Metro Central, the Red Line and White Line intersect. Customers have the option of purchasing a special ticket, the red pass card, for riding this line. According to a status monitor display, the stations are currently receiving power. The route of this line is featured in an advertisement for the Metro.
The Blue Line was the next line completed. This line begins north-west of Washington, D.C. in Maryland, loops through the city, and ends west of the city in Virginia. Stops on this line include N. Potomac, FDR Island, L'Enfant Plaza, Minuteman, Franklin Station, Falls Church Station, Marigold Station, Jury St. Station, and Warrington Station. The Virginia terminus is at Warrington Trainyard. Like the Red Line, customers can purchase a special ticket, the blue pass card, for riding this line. According to the status monitor display, most stations on this line in the city are currently powered. This line doesn't intersect with the Red or White Lines.
The White Line was the last line completed. This line begins north-east of Washington, D.C. in Maryland, passes through the heart of the city, and ends south-west of the city in Virginia. Stops on this line include Takoma, Abernathy, Becton, Vernon Square, Metro Central, Foggy Bottom, Arlington, and Platz. Unlike the other two lines, no special ticket was ever released for this line. This may be that the Great War intervened before a white pass card was available for purchase. White Line intersects the Red Line at Metro Central. According to the status display monitor, all stations in the city on this line are receiving power.
There are many stations in the Capital Wasteland that lack connection to the three main lines due to the extensive damage that took place during the Great War. These stations include the Fairfax Metro Station and Bethesda Underworks. Other stations had their entrances so completely destroyed that any attempt at locating them is impossible.
A special metro was built exclusively for the presidential use. Aptly named the presidential metro, it features a robot called M.A.R.Go.T. and many Mister Gutsies and special sentry bots for added security.
 Metro connections
While it may appear to be impossible to get very far in the subway tunnels because of all the debris, the fact is that you can get to a remarkable number of locations without ever having to come above ground, and even more when you add in places where you can make short, safe walks above ground from one station's exit to another station's entrance. Note that with just a couple of short above-ground walks, you can get all the way from Farragut West (just across the river from Super-Duper Mart) to Rivet City (near the bottom of the map) and many important places along the way.
Of course, you are still going to have to fight raiders, feral ghouls, and even some super mutants, but at least you know you will eventually get where you want to go, and you can pick up a lot of loot along the way. Above-ground in the central D.C. area, you are very limited in how far you can go without being stopped by impassable piles of debris.
 Metro cars
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 a 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, buried completely, or salvaged by later visitors to the Metro. 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 unpowered cars is very unusual; most real world versions were phased out as the size of engine motors decreased. Real subways tend to use multiple unit trains where two or more cars are permanently joined, and then assembled into longer trains. While a real subway carries its own engines under each car, it is usually not self-propelled, and instead collects electricity via a third rail or pantograph and overhead wires. The only metro system in Washington D.C. that utilizes this propulsion system is the Presidential metro.
- Most metro stations have a terminal in the offices that allows you to download a basic map of the Metro onto your Pip-Boy.
- Keep in mind that many of the Metro map markers on the Pip-Boy 3000 map look very close to one another, but could be completely separated by buildings and wreckage. Keep to the metro tunnels and refer to you downloaded map to keep on the right path.
- The map found in-game and in the Pip-Boy 3000 map differ from each other.
The Metro appears only in Fallout 3.
 Behind the scenes
- Many stations in the Metro system of the Capital Wasteland have the same name and location as their real-life counterparts including: Tenleytown, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, L'Enfant Plaza, Takoma, Metro Center, West Falls Church, Friendship Heights, Anacostia, and Mt.Vernon Sq.
- Other station names in the Capital Wasteland have a strong resemblance to real-life counterparts, such as Marigold: Merrifield; Franklin: Franconia; and Platz: Vienna (in German, platz means square, and is a reference to metro stations in Vienna, many of them located under big squares).
- The WMATA logo in real-life is also a capital letter M, although it uses a different font than the Fallout version.
- For a comparison with the current, real-world WMATA, see WMATA map
Concept art by Adam Adamowicz