Pennsylvania Avenue Line (Washington, D.C.)

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32, 34, 36
Pennsylvania Avenue Line
WMATA Metrobus logo.svg
WMATA New Flyer XN40 2908 on Route 32.jpg
An New Flyer XN40 running on route 32
OperatorWashington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
GarageBladensburg, Western
Began serviceJuly 29, 1862 (streetcar)[1]
1936 (bus)[2]
PredecessorsWashington and Georgetown Railroad, Naylor Road Line, Routes 30 and 35
LocaleNorthwest and Southeast Washington[3]
Communities servedFoggy Bottom, Federal Triangle, Capitol Hill, Barney Circle, Fairlawn, Good Hope, Naylor Gardens, Hillcrest
Landmarks servedThe White House, National Mall, U.S. Capitol, L’Enfant Square[3]
StartPotomac Park (32, 36)
Archives station (34)[3]
ViaH and I Streets, Pennsylvania Avenue, Naylor Road, Branch Avenue[3]
EndSouthern Avenue station (32)
Naylor Road station (34, 36)[3]
Length32 (inbound): 9.5 miles (15.29 km)[4]
34 (inbound): 6.4 miles (10.30 km)[5]
36 (inbound): 9.2 miles (14.81 km)[6]
OperatesWeekdays (all routes)
Weekends (32, 36 only)[3]
CashExact change required
TransfersSmarTrip only
TimetablePennsylvania Avenue Line
← 30S  {{{system_nav}}}  37 →

The Pennsylvania Avenue Line, served by Routes 32, 34, and 36 (formerly served by Routes 30 and 35 as well), is a Metrobus bus route in Washington, D.C., United States.[3] Until the 1960s, it was a streetcar line, opened in 1862 by the Washington and Georgetown Railroad as the first line in the city.

The current routing also incorporates portions of the Naylor Road Line, formerly a standalone route.

Current route[edit]

Route 32 and 36 begin at the Potomac Park apartments near the Foggy Bottom–GWU station and follow H and I Streets to Pennsylvania Avenue. Route 34 begins at the Archives station and continues east along the same route. The three bus routes travel across Southeast and over the Sousa Bridge. At L'Enfant Square, the routes separate. Routes 32 and 34 take Naylor Road, while Route 36 continues along Pennsylvania to Branch Avenue. Route 32 terminates at the Southern Avenue station, just across the Maryland border, while Routes 34 and 36 finish at Naylor Road station, also in Maryland. Both stations are served by the Green Line.

Routes 32 and 36 operate seven days a week, but Route 34 only operates on weekdays. All three routes are supplemented by the Friendship Heights–Southeast Line, operated by Routes 30N and 30S, which traverse the same route as the 32, 34, and 36, but continue north along Wisconsin Avenue to Friendship Heights.


The Pennsylvania Avenue Line was the main line of the Capital Traction Company, connecting Georgetown to the Navy Yard. As authorized in the charter, it began at M Street North and Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, and headed east and southeast across Rock Creek on the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge (shared with the Washington Aqueduct). Because the White House and Capitol lie directly in the line of Pennsylvania Avenue, diversions were made around the White House to the north and east via 15th Street Northwest and around the south edge of the Capitol Grounds. At the time, this meant that it turned south along the current western boundary (First Street West) between the two traffic circles, but continued to curve southeast and east to the intersection of A Street South and First Street East, where Pennsylvania Avenue restarted. The line continued along Pennsylvania Avenue to Eighth Street Southeast, turning south to end at the Navy Yard. A branch to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station ran northeast from Pennsylvania Avenue and First Street West to New Jersey Avenue and B Street North, heading east on B Street and south just east of the Capitol to rejoin the main line.[7][8] Trains began running between the Capitol and White House on July 29, 1862, and the line was extended west to Washington Circle on August 12, Georgetown on August 18, and east to the Navy Yard on October 2.[1] Connections could also be made to the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station at Sixth Street once it opened in 1872.

On March 3, 1875, the Washington and Georgetown and Metropolitan Railroad were "directed to take up such portions of their tracks as may come in way of the improvement of the Capitol Grounds".[7] This improvement gave the Capitol Grounds their present shape, bounded by First Street West and East and B Street North and South, and the Pennsylvania Avenue Line was moved to First Street West and B Street South.[9] The B&O station branch was moved to First Avenue West and C Street North, ending at New Jersey Avenue; this had been the route of the B&O before its tracks (actually those of the Alexandria and Washington Railroad) were ripped up in 1872.[citation needed]

Also on March 3, 1875, the Washington and Georgetown was required to move its line from the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge to the M Street Bridge via 26th Street West.[7] The old bridge was reconstructed in the mid-1910s, with Capital Traction paying one-third of the cost, and cars moved back to Pennsylvania on July 7, 1916 (eastbound), and July 15 (westbound).[10]

On August 23, 1894, the company was required to, within a year, build a union station at the Georgetown end of the Aqueduct Bridge and extend its line west to it, where passengers could transfer to lines into Virginia.[7]

The Pennsylvania Avenue Line was extended southeast to the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge over the Anacostia River in the late 1890s, with some cars running there and some continuing to serve the Navy Yard.[citation needed]

A loop off the line through the West End of Washington was authorized on June 4, 1900[10] and opened on March 24, 1901.[11] Westbound cars could turn south on 17th Street West, west on G Street North, and north on 25th Street West to return to Pennsylvania Avenue, while the eastbound track was laid in 26th Street West, F Street North, and 17th Street West. A track in G Street between 25th and 26th Streets allowed for a short-turn service, reversing direction at 26th Street.[9][12]

On May 23, 1908, Congress authorized extensions of several companies to serve the new Union Station. The Capital Traction's branch to the old B&O station was extended east on C Street and northeast on Delaware Avenue to the station, and a second route between this branch and the tracks towards the east ran via First Street East and B Street North to Delaware Avenue (over trackage owned by other companies).[10][12]

A second loop through the West End was approved on December 7, 1916, from Pennsylvania Avenue south to Virginia Avenue near West Potomac Park via 18th and 19th Streets.[13]

On December 2, 1923, Capital Traction began crossing the Key Bridge, which replaced the old Aqueduct Bridge, to a loop in Rosslyn, and the Northern Virginia lines that had crossed the bridge were cut back to that point.[14]

After consolidation[edit]

After Capital Traction and the Washington Railway and Electric Company were merged in 1933 to form the Capital Transit Company, some of the redundant lines were abandoned. This included the WR&E's Georgetown line between Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues, resulting in Cabin John Line and Tennallytown Line cars, and cars of other lines that ran to Georgetown, being routed via Pennsylvania Avenue between Georgetown and the White House. Other lines, such as the Columbia Line between the White House and Kenilworth, were extended over the Pennsylvania Avenue Line. When numbers were assigned to the car routes in 1936, the following regular routes used the Pennsylvania Avenue Line:

In addition, Route 92 served the line on Eighth Street Southeast to the Navy Yard via the Florida Avenue Line, but did not use Pennsylvania Avenue.

Thus Pennsylvania Avenue Line streetcars (Route 30) were discontinued on January 3, 1960, and the tracks east of 14th Street Northwest were last used on January 28, 1962. Route 54 buses still serve a small part of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The East Washington Heights Traction Company's streetcars, which ran from Barney Circle to Randle Highlands via the Sousa Bridge, were replaced by buses on December 1, 1923, numbered Route C2 in 1936. This became Routes 32 and 34 when it was through-routed with the Pennsylvania Avenue Line.

The Capital Traction Company began operating buses to Hillcrest and Good Hope on December 23, 1924,[2] numbered Route C6 in 1936. This became Routes 35 and 36 when through-routed.

June 29, 2008, changes[edit]

In June 2008, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced changes to the service on these routes. As of June 29, 2008, the pre-existing lines have been consolidated into routes 32 and 36, as a result of which routes 30, 34 and 35 no longer exist.[15][16] Additionally, two new limited-stop routes, which run only during rush hour, have been added: bus 37 travels between Friendship Heights Metro station and downtown Washington, D.C., and bus 39 runs between downtown Washington, D.C. and Naylor Road Metro station.[17] Local "neighborhood connector" service is now provided by new routes 31 and 33 (the Wisconsin Avenue line) and M5 (the Naylor Road neighborhood connector),[15] as well as route M6 (the Fairfax Village, Washington, D.C. line).[17]

December 2008 service changes[edit]

The M5 would be renamed the 34 keeping the same routing between Naylor Road and Archives on December 28, 2008 reincarnating the 34 back into service.

Until August 24, 2014, Route 34 existed as a standalone route known as the Naylor Road Line.[18]

August 24, 2014, changes[edit]

On August 24, 2014, changes were made to the Pennsylvania Avenue Line as part of a reconstructing effort.[19]

Routes 32 and 36 were shortened to operate only to Potamac Park being replaced by the Friendship Heights-Southeast Line which are new routes 30N and 30S.[20][21] The 30N and 30S are reincarnations of the former 30 and 35 routes but have the same routing as the 32 and 36. Both the 30N and 30S would operate 24 hours a day with each trips every hour from each other.

A new Route 33 was also introduced to operate alongside the 31. The 33 provides service along Wisconsin Avenue NW to provide discontinued service from the 32 and 36 lines running from Friendship Heights station and Federal Triangle.

The 32 and 36 will operate alongside the 34 with the Naylor Road Line name being discontinued and replaced by the current Pennsylvania Avenue Line name.

2016 changes[edit]

The 34 discontinued all late-night service after 9:19 PM and weekend service on March 27, 2016, with alternative service provided by the 30N and 36.[22]


  1. ^ a b Report of the president ond directors of the Washington and Georgetown Railroad to the stockholders, July 1863, printed in The Miscellaneous Documents of the Senate of the United States for the First Session Thirty-Eighth Congress, Government Printing Office, 1864, document 11
  2. ^ a b Washington Post, Good Hope Bus Service Begun, December 24, 1924
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Pennsylvania Avenue Line (32, 34, 36)" (PDF). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. June 25, 2016. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Google (December 5, 2016). "Route 32" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  5. ^ Google (December 5, 2016). "Route 34" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  6. ^ Google (December 5, 2016). "Route 36" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Laws Relating to Street-Railway Franchises in the District of Columbia, published by the Government Printing Office, 1896, pp. 11-15, 47-66
  8. ^ Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Plan of the City of Washington, 1870, accessed via the David Rumsey Map Collection
  9. ^ a b C. S. Hammond & Co., Map of Washington Archived 2007-02-22 at the Wayback Machine, 1908
  10. ^ a b c Dr. William Tindall, Beginnings of Street Railways in the National Capital, printed in Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Volume 21, published by the Columbia Historical Society, 1918, pp. 24–86
  11. ^ Washington Post, Cars on F and G Streets, March 24, 1901
  12. ^ a b Greeters of America, Greeters' Guide to Washington, 1922, pp. 61–63
  13. ^ Washington Post, Track Extension Approved, December 10, 1916
  14. ^ Washington Post, Cars to Begin Running on Key Bridge Sunday, November 30, 1923
  15. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions about the Metrobus 30s Line Improvements" (PDF). 30s Metrobus On The Move.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Metro press release: Metro's Board of Directors gives preliminary approval to restructuring Metrobus 30s line" (Press release). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
  17. ^ a b "Metro press release: Metro launches major overhaul of 30s Metrobus line" (Press release). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
  18. ^ "Naylor Road Line (34)" (PDF). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. September 24, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  19. ^ "PlanItMetro » New routes, more service, and other changes coming to bus routes in Southeast DC". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  20. ^ "Metro News Release - WMATA". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  21. ^ "Metrobus service changes effective August 24". WUSA. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  22. ^ "Metro News Release - WMATA". Retrieved April 1, 2019.

External links[edit]