Image from WMATA.

Metro will soon place an order for a new series of railcars. The new cars, the 7000 series, will be quite different from Metro’s current fleet of cars.

One notable difference with the cars is that they will be quad-sets. They will still be married pairs, like WMATA’s current rolling stock, but instead of having a cab at each end of the pair, a cab will only be present at one end.

A second married pair facing the opposite direction will give the set of four a cab at each end. By eliminating cabs in half the cars, this configuration will give the cars more passenger capacity. A control panel will be located at the other end of each pair to facilitate movement in yards.

An additional difference is that the 7000 series will not be interoperable with any of the other series in the fleet. Because of this, Metro says that 7000 series trains will operate only in 8-car consists — two quad-sets coupled together.

The exterior of the cars will also differ significantly from the existing fleet. They will not have a brown stripe running along the side, nor will the front be brown. Instead, the cars will have a stainless steel exterior with a blue and white Metro logo. The front will have a dark gray color on the top half. Two destination signs will be located on the side of each car, up from the one present on each side of the current fleet.


Photo by the author.

The interior will not feature carpet. Instead, it is likely that the cars will use one of the rubberized floor-types currently being tested in the system. Instead of the current naugahyde material, seats may use a covering similar to the test materials currently being demonstrated on cars 6026 and 6027. Seat frames will be made of stainless steel.

Metro’s plans call for seats to be able to be arranged in the current transverse arrangement, with most seats facing forward and backward, or in a longitudinal arrangement, with seats facing the center aisle. The transverse arrangement will hold 130 seats per pair, compared to 126 in the 6000 series, while the longitudinal setup will have 122 seats per pair.


7000-series transverse (left) and longitudinal (right) seating arrangements.


Another feature that Metro will be including are dynamic displays and LCD displays. This will allow Metro to show up-to-date information on rail cars. One new feature will be a display showing the train’s position within the system. New York has had a system like this for a few years, and Chicago recently introduced it on their newest railcars.


New NYC Subway display. Photo by See-ming Lee.


Metro has the option to order 748 railcars over the life of the contract. Right now, staff is proposing that they order only 364 cars — 64 for the Tysons Corner extension and 300 to replace the 1000 series.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Capitol Hill. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is a contract employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.