Phase 1 of Metro’s Silver Line should reach “substantial completion” in November, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced at a meeting today. But don’t take that to mean it’s almost ready for you and your SmarTrip.

Control of the first phase, which includes five new stations between Falls Church and Reston, will be handed over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority for testing and simulation once it’s substantially complete. Once WMATA’s done its necessary preparation, it will announce a date for actual service to begin.

“We are looking forward to the day when passengers ride the Silver Line,” MWAA President and CEO Jack Potter said in a statement. “We are nearing the completion of Phase 1, but we will not sacrifice quality for speed. Safety and performance are always our top priorities.”

In other words: Don’t hold your breath for an actual opening. The line was supposed to start running in December, but in June MWAA admitted that things would get pushed back at least to January. At that time, MWAA was anticipating an Oct. 1 handover to WMATA, plus 90 days for WMATA to prepare. Now that the handover’s been pushed to November, the line presumably won’t start running until February at the earliest.

WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery