WMATA to acquire 8000-series cars

Written by Railway Age Staff
Metro Kawasaki 7000 series

WMATA's 7000-series cars, built by Kawasaki Rail Car USA. Wikipedia/Elvert Barnes

Washington, D.C.’s rapid transit system is moving ahead with plans to buy more new rolling stock.

Metro on September 4 issued a Request for Proposals for the design and construction of hundreds of new 8000-series cars to be delivered starting in 2024.

The agency said it plans to acquire at least 256 8000-series cars and retire its 2000- and 3000-series cars at the end of their 40-year service life.

It did not disclose an estimated purchase price for the cars.

Options in the contract would allow Metro to purchase “up to” 800 cars in all, giving the agency the flexibility to support a range of initiatives and scenarios, including expanding all trains to the maximum eight-car length, running trains more frequently during rush hours, and retiring the 6000-series fleet in lieu of a midlife overhaul program.

Metro said the 8000-series procurement builds on the success of its 7000-series cars, which account for more than half of all trains in service and include popular features such as digital information screens, automated announcements, “smart doors” that individually respond to an obstruction, high-definition security cameras, more space between seats, wider aisles, and non-slip flooring rather than carpet.

The 7000-series cars, built by Kawasaki Rail Car USA, currently travel an average of 156,000 miles before experiencing a delay due to a mechanical issue – more than double the reliability of the legacy 1000-, 4000-, and most 5000-series cars which have already been retired from service.

“Today Metro is beginning the multi-year process of acquiring our next railcar fleet, which will take everything our customers love about 7000-series trains and build upon that success,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Paul J. Wiedefeld. “I would take this opportunity to again thank our local jurisdictions–Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia–for creating a dedicated capital funding source for Metro that has made this possible.”

Like the 7000-series, the 8000-series car design will incorporate the most advanced safety technology available, and improve upon the customer experience with new features:

  • New digital advertising screens to generate revenue and reduce labor costs associated with manually changing ads;
  • Support for remote PA announcements from the Rail Operations Control Center, in addition to automated and train-operator announcements;
  • Dynamic digital system maps, rather than current paper maps;
  • 110-volt power outlets for charging electronic devices
  • Additional handholds and improvements to lighting, floor markings and signage for ADA space.

Proposals for the new railcars are due in late January, and Metro expects to award the contract late in 2019.

Delivery of the 7000-series railcars is on schedule, with the 748th and final car expected to be delivered late next year.

The RFP document can be found here.

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