United States Capitol Subway System

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The subway system of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. consists of three underground electric people mover systems that connect the United States Capitol to the House and Senate office buildings.

Contents

History

The original subway line was built in 1909 to link the Russell Senate Office Building to the Capitol.[1] In 1960, an operator-controlled monorail was installed for the Dirksen Senate Office Building.[2] A two-car subway line connecting the Rayburn House Office Building to the Capitol was built in 1965.[3][4] The Dirksen monorail, which had been extended to the Hart Senate Office Building in 1982, was replaced in 1993 by an automatic train.[1][2]

Network

On the House side, an older manned system with single, open-topped cars shuttles between the Rayburn House Office Building and the Capitol. On the Senate side, two separate subway systems exist. One is a computer-controlled system with small groups of enclosed cars that shuttle passengers between the Hart Senate Office Building, Dirksen Senate Office Building, and the Capitol. It is propelled by a track-side linear motor, while the train cars are unpowered. The second system is similar to the one found on the House side; it connects the Russell Senate Office Building and the Capitol. The House and Senate subway systems do not terminate in the same location under the Capitol, but they are connected by a labyrinth of tunnels.

Security

The systems are open to public insofar as members of the public must be escorted by a staff member with proper identification. This is usually during a tour of the Capitol Complex. However, during votes, the House subway is restricted for Congressional members-only. The Russell subway is restricted to members and staff-only during times when the Senate is voting.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, restrictions have been placed on visitors using the Senate subway between the Hart and Dirksen buildings.

Accidents

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