Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Metro Rail, the DC subway system is starting to roll out new rail cars, the 7000 series. This is the first major redesign in the history of the system. The outside of the cars is stainless steel, the previous cars were aluminum with a painted brown stripe. Inside the cars are radically different, new design and finish on the seats, hard surface floors instead of carpet, and modern electronic signage that shows the location on the line, the next station even what side the doors will open on at the next station. The announcements use an electronic voice. The first of them came into service over the summer, about 50 are in service. I have seen them go by, but last Wednesday on my way home was the first time I rode in them. Nice ride, quiet, comfortable.
The cars are built by Kawasaki, in Kansas. Delivery is way behind schedule. There are issues with the seat covers coming lose, and bolts sheering off in the door mechanisms. The old cars are in pairs of two, with an operators cabin at each end of each pairing, the new cars are in sets of four, with an operators cab at each end. The new cars, can't be mixed with the old cars in the same train. All 6 of the previous car series were interchangeable - could be mixed in the same train. Metro runs a mix of 6 and 8 car trains. With the new cars being in sets of 4, and not mixable with the older rolling stock, they are currently only being run in 8 car trains. Because of power supply limitations, Metro can't run all 8 car trains. I wonder if Metro will recognize the wisdom of 4 car trains on off hours.
Come to DC, I'll show you the subway.