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Silver Line selfie: From Leesburg to Nats Park

“Two and a half hours,” one newsroom colleague said.

“Two hours,” predicted another.

“There's no way it's under two hours,” I added with an air of unjustified certainty.

Times-Mirror reporter Trevor Baratko

Wrong. All wrong.

One hour and 33 minutes. That's how long it took to commute via Loudoun County bus and Metro from downtown Leesburg to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Station during Friday rush-hour to watch the Nationals drop a 2-1 offensive struggle to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The route: Snag a Loudoun Transit bus at the corner of Harrison and Loudoun streets in Leesburg. Get there by 5 p.m., the bus departs promptly at 5:05 p.m. and it's the last one of the day. Around 5:30 p.m. (hopefully), the bus will arrive at the Reston-Wiehle Silver Line station; from there, take the Silver Line to L'Enfant Plaza, hop on the Green Line and you're a couple quick – and crowded – stops from the ballpark.

I strolled through the gate at Nats Park at 6:49 p.m., providing 16 minutes to arrive comfortably in my $5 nosebleed seat (I'm one with the people) and, most importantly, grab a $9.75 Blue Moon tallboy before the first pitch.

Using the Silver Line and Loudoun Transit made heaps of sense. It's hard to imagine traversing via car from Leesburg to Southwest D.C., even taking the Dulles Greenway, finding parking and making it to the gate in an hour and 45 minutes on a Friday afternoon.

Time, of course, isn't the only consideration. There's money, and my route was a bargain. Taking the bus is only $1.50, and the one-way Metro ride was around $6 (I can't say exactly because I just threw $10 on a SmartCard). Comparatively, gas to D.C. is probably $7 or $8 one way. Parking near the stadium for a Friday game-night is about $20.

But there was one major league hitch. Quickly after engaging in the Nats-Silver Line experiment, I realized there was no way to return to Leesburg using the same route until Monday – Loudoun County buses don't run to and from Leesburg to the Wiehle Station late Fridays or on the weekends. Now I savor the District's sites like everyone else – I count the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the National Cathedral and José Andrés' barmini among my favorites – but it'd be nice to at least have the option of returning home without shelling $40 on a cab from Wiehle to Leesburg. Fortunately I have a few good friends in D.C. (and Tinder) and was able to shore up lodging for the night.

Over all, the one-way experience was a delight. Were it possible to return to Leesburg as swiftly and reliably as I arrived at the stadium, there's no question I'd make the trek again. But I guess we'll have to wait until 2018 for that luxury -- when the Silver Line lands in Loudoun. And by that time, we can just skip to Ashburn for a Hounds game (Why are you guys laughing?).

Loudoun Transit service from Harrison and Loudoun streets in Leesburg departs at 5:05 p.m. to Reston-Wiehle station. All Photos/Trevor Baratko

The Silver Line commute from Reston-Wiehle to the first stop in Washington D.C., Foggy Bottom, took around a half hour.

To get to the Nationals game, the changeover to the Green Line at L'Enfant was crowded and hectic.

The trip from downtown Leesburg to the Navy Yard Metro station for Friday night's Nats game took one hour and 33 minutes. I arrived at my seat at 6:49 p.m. -- plenty of time for a beer and a dog before the first pitch.

Packed house in the Nats Park nosebleeds. I thought I misheard the ticket agent who said the cheapest was only $5. FIVE DOLLARS!

And the first pitch.

With the score knotted at 1-1 in the fifth inning of Friday's Nats-Phillies game, the sunset over D.C. had the lead.

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Oh sorry for putting a little reality into the conversation. That Friday traffic was a mess.

Fed up Dude is the Dean of Washington DC Traffic. Although I thought Bob Marboro was of WTOP in the afternoons.

I forgot Fedupdude knows everything. The few times I’ve gone to Nats park, driving time was less then taking the metro. And what’s funny, is I can get to Orioles stadium in less time then Nats stadium.

more cowbell - You got to be kidding me, did you see rush hour last Friday? I had to go to Old Town and that took an hour and I could do back roads there that were not messed up. 495, 395, 66, and all of DC were a mess. Lucky for me 123 and GW were fine.

It’s kind of an exercise in futility, if you can’t get back the way you went, the same evening.  I’ll stick to watching the Nats on tv, with my own private bathroom, couch, fridge and bed.

Well written article. Thank you.

First off, half the govt doesn’t work fridays so comuting isn’t that bad, try a day during the middle of the week when school is open. Second, Nats Park was only 40% full on that night, try a game vs the Orioles or Cards. Third, if the game went into extra innings and you want to stay, you’re screwed if you took metro since Nats don’t pay for metro running late. Fourth, how did you get from Wiehle metro back to Leesburg since no bus running at that time?

But at least by driving he could’ve slept in his own bed.  Now he needs to do the experiment to a game at FedEx.

Frankly not bad, driving there in rush hour is unlikely to be faster and certainly far more frustrating.

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