Hitachi Rail Wins WMATA 8000-Series Contract

Written by David Briginshaw, Consulting Editor, International Railway Journal
Pictured is an artist’s rendering of the new Hitachi Rail 8000-series trains for WMATA.

Pictured is an artist’s rendering of the new Hitachi Rail 8000-series trains for WMATA.

The contract could be worth $2.2 billion if all options are exercised.

Hitachi Rail Washington has been awarded a contract by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to design and build an initial order of 256 8000-series rapid transit cars. If all the options in the contract are exercised, a total of 800 cars will be supplied to WMATA worth up to $2.2 billion.

WMATA selected Hitachi Rail as the preferred bidder for the contract on Sept. 30, 2020. The acquisition of the 8000-series trains will be funded using new dedicated revenue streams established by the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

“The new 8000-series cars will improve on the design and features of the new fleet of 7000-series cars, the most reliable in Metro’s history,” WMATA said. Kawasaki Heavy Industries supplied 748 7000-series cars between 2010 and 2019, which replaced 1000- and 4000-series trains.

The new trains are designed to be lighter, safer and more energy-efficient than 7000-series cars, and will have improved regenerative braking and ventilation, high-definition cameras, and stringent cybersecurity. The trains will also have digital screens and real-time information, dynamic maps, electrical outlets for charging personal devices, and additional hand-holds for standing passengers.

Hitachi Rail will manufacture the car body structure, fit out the trains, and carry out final assembly at a new plant it plans to build in the Washington area. The initial pre-series trains are expected to be delivered in 2024.

The base order will replace WMATA’s aging 2000- and 3000-series trains, which have been in service since the early 1980s, and were designed to be “backward compatible” with the agency’s 1970s-era design. The 2000- and 3000-series cars were manufactured by Italian firm Breda (now Hitachi Rail Italy). WMATA currently operates a combined fleet of 360 cars of these types.

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