Metro unveils designs for next generation railcars
Final design benefits from extensive customer, employee and stakeholder input
Metro is advancing its next generation of rail cars (known as the 7000-series) with a final design that reflects extensive input from customers, rider advocates and employees.
“Our customers will benefit from an improved design that accommodates many of their preferences and ultimately delivers a more reliable and more comfortable rider experience,” said Richard Sarles, Metro’s General Manager/CEO. “The attention to detail of these cars will be evident to the customers, employees and stakeholders who invested their time to help us get this right.” Sarles said.
The new rail cars were ordered to replace the 1000-series cars – the oldest in Metro’s fleet – and to comply with recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
After years of gathering rider input, with more extensive outreach to customers, employees and stakeholder groups over the last several months, Metro presented the final design to its Board’s Customers Service and Operations Committee today.
According to Assistant General Manager for Customer Service, Communications and Marketing Barbara J. Richardson, customers describe the new car features as safe, comfortable, spacious, forward looking, modern and customer focused.
The new rail cars include a customer preferred blue and grey interior color scheme, and feature:
• A stainless steel exterior with 64 vinyl padded seats and seat-back grab handles.
• Added handholds in the door area and vertical poles added at each seat – for a total of 25% more linear feet of bars than in the most recently built cars.
• Carpeting is replaced with resilient, nonslip flooring.
• To accommodate all passengers, aisle width increases from 32 inches to 34 inches, and there is an added designation of a priority seating area.
• Improved lighting and privacy screens in the vestibule area.
• Two dynamic LCD route maps and four video screens in each car allow customers to easily track train locations and station names.
• High-tech automated public address systems and closed circuit television cameras for added safety and security.
Masamichi Udagawa, an industrial designer representing Antenna design who helped design NY MTA rail cars, was hired by Metro to help incorporate the ideas and preferences of riders and employees into the final design that was presented to the Board today.
The Series 7000 rail cars will also feature the following technical improvements, many of which were influenced by input from operations and safety personnel:
• The cars will be in a “quad-unit configuration,” meaning that four railcars will be connected, allowing the accommodation of 40 more passengers per 8-car train than an older model railcar grouping because of fewer operator compartments.
• Vertically oriented touch screen controls for train operators and better diagnostics for easier evaluation and troubleshooting if there are mechanical problems.
• Placement of certain gauges and relocation of the master controller
• Exterior emergency door activation.
Metro has authorized the purchase of 364 rail cars from Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., who will manufacture the new cars in Lincoln, NE. Of that total number, 300 will be used to replace Metro’s oldest rail cars, the Series 1000 rail cars, and the remaining 64 cars are slated to support the expansion of Metro service on phase I of the Dulles rail corridor and run throughout the system.
The delivery schedule calls for the cars to start arriving on Metro property in 2013, and undergo a rigorous, months-long inspection process.
Metro currently has a fleet of 1,142 rail cars ranging from the Series 1000 to 6000.
News release issued at 11:44 am, July 7, 2011.