Metro tests new floors in rail cars
Metro is testing four different styles of resilient floors inside its new series 6000 rail cars as the transit authority looks at ways to reduce costs and improve customer service.
“It is important we look at alternatives and ways to improve our rail cars that work better in terms of maintenance, expense and the health of our customers,” said Metro Board Chairman Christopher Zimmerman, who represents Arlington County, Va.
Since its inception in 1976, all Metrorail cars have been outfitted with carpeting. The transit agency began testing non-carpeted floors in November 2007 with installation of noraplan resilient gray floors in two rail cars. The floors were installed in the train operator cabs of the 6000 series rail cars. Earlier this year, the agency expanded the test to two other styles of rubber nora floor surfaces in two rail cars -- one is black with gray and white flecks and the other is gray with black and gray flecks. A fifth rail car has Canadian produced Abrastop gray and white speckled floors, which is composed of quartz and other materials.
Rail systems have been moving away from carpet for years, said John Catoe, Metro's General Manager.“Non-carpet floors are easier, less expensive and more environmentally friendly to maintain. They also don’t have a moldy smell that some carpeted rail cars have after getting wet, and it is stain resistant.”
On average, the carpet inside a Metrorail car is vacuumed once a week, shampooed every two months and replaced every five years. It costs Metro $5,200 to replace carpet in each Metrorail car. The floors Metro is testing have a life expectancy more than 25 years. They also have met or exceeded federal safety and American with Disability Act standards.
The Abrastop flooring is used in Orlando’s Monorail trains and in various other train systems in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The nora flooring Metro is testing is used in some MARC and VRE trains, and rail systems in Miami, Chicago and Seattle and Canada.
Metro plans to try the new floors during the next six months before selecting a style to be installed in more current and the future rail cars.
In addition to the new floors, the five rail cars have the spring-loaded overhead handles to give shorter customers who are standing in the aisles something to hold onto for balance and comfort. Metro plans to expand grab handles to 266 rail cars by the end of the year.
News release issued at 2:52 pm, April 22, 2008.