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Metro to buy new rail cars

The Metro board Thursday afternoon approved a deal to buy the first round of the 7000 Series rail cars, the ones needed to start operating the Metrorail extension through Tysons and out to Reston in 2013.

The contract to design and build the cars will be with Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. To start operating the new line, Metro will need 64 of these cars, but it also needs 300 to replace the oldest cars in the fleet, the 1000 Series.

The 7000 Series will be a significant departure from the cars we've been riding on. In fact, they can't be broken up and combined with the older cars to form train sets. And they don't come in pairs, as all the previous series have. They will come in fours. So they can be run either as eight-car trains or as four-car trains. (Metro has no plans to bring back four-car trains.)

The Metro board approved the purchase plan unanimously.

By Robert Thomson  |  May 27, 2010; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail  
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blah blah blah why cant these be built in amurrica bluh bluh bluh

Posted by: thenoggin | May 27, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

For the love of god, I hope they will have bench seating for the new trains. That way a lot more of us can cram into them than the current 2-person seat space hoggers.

Posted by: spam4ever | May 27, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: One of the design characteristics of the new cars is that Metro can configure the seats in a variety of ways.

But I think it's unlikely we'll see New York subway-style bench seating. Metro experimented a few years ago with a sort of hybrid. It had benches of about five seats each facing in. But then it dropped that version. My recollection is that the transit staff determined that the cars wouldn't hold any more people -- sitting or standing -- than the current designs. (And that was the issue at the time: capacity.)

Posted by: rtthomson1 | May 27, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Bench seating doesn't work with Metro. Passengers must face forward or back or Metro's trademarked lurching would toss them onto one another.

Posted by: seraphina21 | May 27, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Okay, if they have no plans to re-introduce four car trains and these can only be run as pairs of 4 car trains, and they because of budget cuts are thinking about only running 6 car trains, then why are they are looking at cars that cannot do that. Am I missing something here?

Posted by: MattyTB | May 27, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

That hybrid attempt sure sounded half assed, which of course won't work. It has to be all benches or don't have it at all. I believe people will be more inclined to move toward the middle of the train with benches instead of the narrow aisle they have right now. Also with the silver line, bench seating will definitely benefit passengers with luggages

Posted by: spam4ever | May 27, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Am I alone in wishing that these new rail cars would have 4 sets of doors per side per train rather than 3? I know that's an extra mechanical thing to break down, but that would greatly speed loading-unloading.

Posted by: JoeSchmoe06 | May 27, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Also, this means that any fool driver who runs the train off the tracks or into another train will now be disabling a minimum of 4 cars, not just 2.

Posted by: JoeSchmoe06 | May 27, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Tonight's commute: Get to Metro Center at 5:40. First train to Shady Grove too crowded. Board next train to SG. Air conditioning is minimal for today's heat. We stop for several minutes at several stations. Finally it is revealed that the reason for the problem is a switching issue at Grosvenor.
After more stopping at various stations, we arrive at Grosvenor. Despite the fact that the train clearly said "Shady Grove" and the arrival board clearly says this and next two trains are to SG, we are - you guessed it - ordered off the train. We wait another five minutes for the next train, which, mirabile dictu, is truly going to Shady Grove. I get off at my station, Twinbrook.

The whole trip from my door to Metro Center used to take 45 minutes. Now that the entrance to the parking lot has moved around to Twinbrook Parkway, I have to sit through three lights which adds several minutes to the trip. Combined with Metro's predilection for motionless trains, the trip is now an hour. On days like this it's an hour and a half.

AND we're getting a fare increase???? What are they smoking??????

Posted by: econgrrl | May 27, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

more doors in the middle in the middle means less seating capacity

Posted by: destewar | May 27, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

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