Friday, September 16, 2005

CONTEST: No Winners

The answer to the trivia contest is Mount Vernon Square-7th St.-Convention Center. And nobody got it. And I'm not necessarily surprised. I did make it tough.

Let's review ...
A Vaulted Challenge:

If Dupont Circle is equal to Union Station, and Ballston is equal to Stadium-Armory, what station doesn't belong on the Green Line between U St.-African-American Civil War Mem'l-Cardozo and Navy Yard ...

A shift at Rock Creek might be able to help you pin-point an aberration.

So how did I ever come up with that answer? A few people e-mailed or asked me at Stetson's last night made some good attempts, either taking maps out and trying to do some triangulation, counting the number of stations and trying to do some sort of mathematical deduction. Nope.

First off, it was a "Vaulted Challenge." With vaults, I'm talking about, well, the vaults in Metrorail stations, as in the "arched structure, usually of masonry or concrete, serving to cover a space," according to

Second, look at the next part of the clue. Besides being on the same lines, what is the common bond between a.) Dupont Circle and Union Station, and b.) Ballston and Stadium-Armory? Besides being stations on the same line, they are the bookend stations for segments that feature the so-called waffle or coffered design throughout. (The waffle design of the Pentagon City station on the Blue and Orange Lines can be seen here.) Outbound after Stadium-Armory, the Orange Line runs above ground to Minnesota Avenue and beyond. Outbound after Ballston, the Orange Line runs above ground in the I-66 median.

With the Red Line, outbound after Union Station, the Red Line runs above ground. But outbound after Dupont Circle, there is a shift in station design. (Thus the secondary clue ... "A shift at Rock Creek might be able to help you pin-point an aberration.") The waffle or coffered design ends and shifts to a "six-coffer" barrel-vaulted design. Essentially, you couldn't easily convert the ceiling design at Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan to a waffle iron. But it would be easier to convert the Dupont Circle ceiling for breakfast service. Look up, look closely and you'll notice the difference.

So what about the Green Line? What station doesn't belong between the U St.-African-American Civil War Mem'l-Cardozo and Navy Yard stations? They all have a the waffle design, except for one: Mount Vernon Square-7th St.-Convention Center station, which was the first station to use the design (according to the Schumin Web Transit Center, which can be seen most prevalent on the Red Line between the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan (pictured above) and Medical Center stations.

Pentagon City photo from the archives of Drew McDermott.
Woodley Park photo from the archives of Ambivalent Images.


At 6:44 PM, Blogger Ben Schumin said...

Excellent contest, and thanks for the link. Though this detail didn't affect the contest, it does affect your explanation.

The arch designs on the Red Line (except Glenmont) are different from the arch designs on the Green Line plus Glenmont. The stations from Woodley Park to Medical Center have a four-coffer arch, and these stations were constructed in the 1980's. Mt. Vernon Square, opened in 1991, was the first to use the six-coffer arch, but the stations on the western part of the Red Line do predate Mt. Vernon Square.

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