Greater Greater Washington

Metro's 7000 series mock-up makes its debut

The newest member of Metro's fleet recently arrived from Japan, and debuted to reporters this morning at a Metro facility in Landover. The "hard mock-up" is the first of the 7000 series cars to arrive in the Washington area, though this car will likely never carry passengers.


All photos by the author.

From soft to hard mockups

The new car will allow Metro to make further adjustments to the design of the 7000 series. The agency will be bringing in railcar mechanics, train operators, engineers, and focus groups to help determine whether it needs to change any elements of the design before production begins early next year.

The so-called "hard mock-up" will spend a few weeks here before being moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where the rest of the 7000 series cars will be assembled. Kawasaki built the mock-up in Japan, and it recently arrived in the United States by ship.

The mock-up is a complete vehicle, including all the necessary electronic and mechanical systems that will be on the rest of the new cars. Currently, the trucks (wheelsets) are not attached to the car body, but they are complete units.

WMATA had earlier built a half-size "soft-mock" to test out different design concepts, and gave the Riders' Advisory Council and Washington Post a tour. Experiences from the soft-mock influenced the design of this car.


Outside of the soft mock-up.

One change, according to spokesman Dan Stessel, came from input from a focus group of disabled riders, who requested that Metro move a pole in the center of the car.

Some more changes may come from to feedback from operators and mechanics. Hopefully, these changes will make the 7000 series cars an even more well-designed addition to WMATA's fleet.

7000s start a new generation

The 7000 series cars will be far different than the current fleet of railcars. Different enough, in fact, that they won't be interoperable with the existing fleet of cars.

The new trains will feature several elements that riders should find to be improvements over current cars.

Seats on the new cars have a different shape, giving passengers more legroom. They're also more ergonomic, according to Metro officials. The new seats have a different surface, that feels like fake leather.

Additionally, by removing the armrests from the seats, Metro has widened the center aisle in the car by 2 inches, which should help riders circulate more easily.

Riders will notice other aesthetic changes to the car as well, especially the lack of carpeting. The 7000 cars will feature a rubber no-slip floor.


Photo by the author.

According to chief of staff Barbara Richardson, focus groups liked the blue tones featured on the car. They reacted poorly to an updated version of the old cars' brown palette.

A new display system will help riders know where they are along the line. New York has had a system like this for several years, and it has been well-received there. Each car will include 2 of these digital line maps, which show the next several stations and the final destination of the train.

Additionally, 4 LCD screens on each car will be capable of displaying service information and other announcements. At each station, the screens will automatically show information about connecting transit services and other local information.

The LCD screens could show advertising, though Metro has not yet made a decision about that. The screens are silent, though, so there will be no audio component.

The public address system in the 7000s is digital, rather than the analog system in older cars. This means that announcements should be clearer throughout the train and more easily understandable for riders.

Several cameras have been installed in each car. Each passenger compartment has 4 cameras. Additionally, there are cameras in the operator's compartment, watching the operator and the control panel and one forward-facing camera.

These cameras will record, so that in the case of an accident or other event, investigators can capture footage. Additionally, the operator can select different cameras using a touch screen if necessary. Whenever someone pushes the emergency intercom, the nearest camera will automatically focus on that area.

Metro Transit Police will have the ability to monitor video feeds from the trains live when necessary.

Doors will now have a single mechanism operating both door leaves, as opposed to the current setup, which has 2. This new design should make the doors more resilient, and less likely to become stuck open. The new door design has fewer moving parts than the doors on the current fleet of cars, and Metro thinks that the simpler design will result in fewer failures and less wear over time. The newer R142 cars on the New York subway use this same door design.

I spoke with Barbara Richardson about changes to the exterior of the car. Gone is the familiar brown stripe. In its place is a new Metro logo surrounded by a pattern of small squares making up a sort of penumbra. Richardson says this logo evokes the way Metro spreads radially into the region.

I wish the "M" logo were more centered with the windows, but I do like the penumbra design. It's certainly a more modern take on the WMATA logo, which dates back to the early 1970s.

At the unveiling, Metro CEO Richard Sarles thanked Senator Ben Cardin and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. Both were on hand at the event. Sarles thanked elected officials for championing funding for the cars, and noted that without 2008's PRIIA Act, Metro would have been unable to purchase these cars.

The 7000 series cars represent the largest investment in Metro's fleet since the rail system started in the mid 70s.

Test track construction is underway

In related news, Metro has started construction of a test track which will allow Metro to prepare the 7000 series cars for service without disrupting the Green Line. This new test track will run alongside the Green Line between the College Park and Greenbelt stations.

Since the test track will lie sandwiched between the CSX and Green Line tracks, Metro has to build crossings over the Green Line to allow construction access. One of these grade crossings, in Berwyn Heights, is mostly complete; Metro built it during the Green Line closure a few weeks ago. A second crossing just south of Greenbelt station is still under construction.

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 Greenbelt. Hes a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He is a contract employee of the Montgomery County Planning Department. His views are his own and do not represent the opinion of his employer. 

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Looking forward to Mock Up vs. Mothra demonstration.

by aaa on Oct 10, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

Metro has widened the center aisle in the car by 2 inches, which should help riders circulate more easily.

You know what would really help passengers circulate more easily in the cars and add capacity to boot? Bench-style seating.

I spoke with Barbara Richardson about changes to the exterior of the car. Gone is the familiar brown stripe. In its place is a new Metro logo surrounded by a pattern of small squares making up a sort of penumbra. Richardson says this logo evokes the way Metro spreads radially into the region.

The Metro 'disco ball' is fitting for a system born in the 70s, I guess.

Seems completely unnecessary for me. Why did they need to change it? The M logo is clean and well known. The disco ball look is dated already to my eye. I don't mind it on those interior partitions, but I think it looks terrible on the side of the train. Just use the plain logo, please.

At least it's not the absolutely awful 'America's Metro' logo on the earlier documents: http://dcist.com/2008/01/the_future_of_m_1.php

by Alex B. on Oct 10, 2012 1:33 pm • linkreport

This new test track will run alongside the Green Line between the College Park and Greenbelt stations.

They can't test in the yard between King St and van Dorn?

by Jasper on Oct 10, 2012 1:46 pm • linkreport

Personally, I'm pretty glad that we're not using the NYC-style bench seats. The average Metro ride is a lot longer than a subway ride, and the traverse seating is a lot more comfortable. [On that note, I'm also glad that they didn't opt for the cloth "bus seats" or hard-plastic ones]

That said, I'm really not a fan of the blue tones. They seem harsh and sterile. If it's got anything like the blue-ish lighting on the new Metrobuses, it's going to be a big step backwards for rider comfort. The lighting and color scheme of those buses feels like an awkward combination of hospital and interrogation room.

The hard floors don't help in this regard either -- my guess is that the same fussy riders who complained about the carpet will be wishing for it back within weeks. The hard floors also make the trains a lot louder on the inside (if the current trains with hard floors are any indication).

The new logo style is a nice piece of design. It doesn't seem to be coupled with any other branding work, which is odd, but it makes me feel less bad about losing the iconic brown stripe.

It's a shame that the stripmaps dont' show transfer points. That's easily the best feature of those maps in NYC's new trains.

by andrew on Oct 10, 2012 1:50 pm • linkreport

The car arrived from Kawasaki’s plant in Lincoln Nebraska not Japan. There’s even a small plaque saying that was proudly built in Lincoln Nebraska.

by Joe H on Oct 10, 2012 1:50 pm • linkreport

That said, if this car is really complete, why isn't it eventually going to be used in service?

by andrew on Oct 10, 2012 1:51 pm • linkreport

@Jasper:

I may be wrong, but I think the testing is always between Greenbelt and College Park due to the access from the CSX tracks into Greenbelt Yard, which is (probably) where Metro takes their deliveries.

by Justin..... on Oct 10, 2012 1:51 pm • linkreport

While Metro is working on mock-ups, they also need to focus on the up in mocking of Metro. Metroriders, unsuck etc were calling for more transparency and better management years ago, but how much has changed? Since the 2009 crash? I mean, more than just doing the PR. Just this year there are continued problems with planning for trains, the interminable escalator outages, and dangerous bus drivers. I understand that Metro is a big bureaucracy, but SRSLY?

by SJE on Oct 10, 2012 1:55 pm • linkreport

andrew,

Personally, I'm pretty glad that we're not using the NYC-style bench seats. The average Metro ride is a lot longer than a subway ride, and the traverse seating is a lot more comfortable.

Is it longer? And longer, how? Longer in distance, I wouldn't be surprised. But longer in terms of time on the train? I'm skeptical.

I'd also dispute that bench-style seating is more comfortable. If given the option today, I'll often pick the bench seats. Maybe that's just because I'm tall.

Finally, I don't think Metro really has a choice. The projections for future ridership growth, even with all-8-car trains, show lots of crowding in the system. Bench-style seating both adds capacity (via more standees) and will improve train ingress/egress, lowering station dwell times. Both of those are cheap ways to squeeze more capacity out of the system, and we're gonna need it.

by Alex B. on Oct 10, 2012 2:03 pm • linkreport

Apparently one of the challenges with NYC-style bench seating is that Metro cars are more sloped on the sides. The cross section of an NYC car is closer to a rectangle, while a Metro car is more trapezoidal. The tunnels don't have room for more rectangular cars without a lot of construction work.

Therefore, seats with their backs to the wall have to be a little farther away from the wall, or tall people have to bend over a bit, or both.

by David Alpert on Oct 10, 2012 2:10 pm • linkreport

@Alex,

I agree about the bench seats being more comfortable. I'm tall (but not abnormally tall - 6'1") and I simply cannot sit comfortably in the forward/backward-facing seats, if there's another seat in front. My knees have to squeeze against the seatback in front. So, I have to be lucky enough to find a seat near the door without one in front of me, use a side-facing seat, or stand. I'm sure I'm one of many people who can't sit in comfort in the regular seats.

As for standing room, these cars have the same problem as the currently "newer" style of cars - not enough vertical, straight, floor-to-ceiling poles. I know they supposedly cause crowding near doors, but the sloped ones against the walls and the ones attached to seats are not very useful - you can't lean against them, which should be an option when the car isn't too crowded and there aren't a bunch of people trying to use the poles.

Bench seating would solve both of these problems. It would give tall people an equal opportunity to sit and have enough leg-room; and it would allow plenty of full-height vertical poles to be placed down the middle of the car, away from the doors to avoid blocking access in and out.

by Victor on Oct 10, 2012 2:15 pm • linkreport

Apparently one of the challenges with NYC-style bench seating is that Metro cars are more sloped on the sides. The cross section of an NYC car is closer to a rectangle, while a Metro car is more trapezoidal. The tunnels don't have room for more rectangular cars without a lot of construction work.

So, this constitutes a 'challenge,' while Metro is trumpeting an extra two inches of space in the aisle, due to removing armrests?

Come on. Metro cars are 10' wide. NYC's IRT rolling stock is only 8'6" wide.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R142A_(New_York_City_Subway_car)

They can make it work with a car that's 18 inches narrower, but we can't? It's also not like WMATA cars don't already have bench seating - they all do (just not for the entire car) up against the angled walls - and it works just fine.

by Alex B. on Oct 10, 2012 2:22 pm • linkreport

Nice lookin' cars. They will be fun to ride. That was an informative write-up, as well.

And I hate to be that guy, but shouldn't it be either "will have to build" or "has to build" (minus the will)... the current phrasing doesn't work.

by H Street LL on Oct 10, 2012 2:25 pm • linkreport

"The 7000 series cars will be far different than the current fleet of railcars. Different enough, in fact, that they won't be interoperable with the existing fleet of cars."

After 4000 series are rehabbed, they will be compatible with the 7000 series.

by john H on Oct 10, 2012 2:27 pm • linkreport

H Street LL: Editing error. Thanks. Fixed.

by David Alpert on Oct 10, 2012 2:31 pm • linkreport

@Joe H.
No, the hard mock-up was built in Japan.

For one, Dan Stessel explicitly said so twice in conversations I had with him.

Secondly, you can see in this photo from Mr. Sarles' trip to Japan in February that the hard mock-up is sitting outside its factory in Japan: http://flic.kr/p/bBDYnK

And finally, Metro tweeted a photo about the mock-up when the car arrived at "the port". There's even a photo of it being rolled off a ship. Had the car been manufactured in Lincoln, it would not have need to travel by ship. In fact, I can't imagine how it would have.
http://metroforward.posterous.com/new7k

You're right that the rest of the cars will be manufactured in Lincoln Nebraska, but this one was not.

by Matt Johnson on Oct 10, 2012 2:32 pm • linkreport

Alex B: Metro can, and I'm not saying they shouldn't; when I was on the RAC I had a whole hearing just to try to hassle them about this and get them to do longitudinal seating, but they didn't want to and hid behind "safety."

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/6640/7000-series-designs-sacrifice-capacity-for-vague-safety/

Sarles ultimately said that they would make sure the cars could be reconfigured without too much trouble.

by David Alpert on Oct 10, 2012 2:33 pm • linkreport

I dig the graphics, particularly on the exterior!

by Peter James on Oct 10, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

They should definitely show the transfer points on the digital strip map. In addition, they should have more than 2 per car. NYC has 3 per car and are much shorter.

I'm also curious how Silver will be displayed on the signs.

by Ron on Oct 10, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

David,

I know Metro can do this. I know that you know, as well. But parroting arguments devoid in logic about the sloped car walls (I'm presuming that answer came from Metro somehow) doesn't help.

by Alex B. on Oct 10, 2012 2:50 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert: I was unaware that "safety" was their justification for not adding more doors to the cars. This seems absurd on its face. How is it safe to have people cramming onto trains in so few places? How could a small gain in wall strength possibly be worth this tradeoff, let alone the additional costs in loading time?

by Gray on Oct 10, 2012 2:50 pm • linkreport

I'm hlaying devil's advocate here, but London's trains have bench seating, and are very sloped on the sides. It's not a problem.

Oh, and the 4000s might be headed straight to retirement. The refurbishment estimates came in very high, and Metro have speculated that it might be more cost-effective to just replace them with an extra order of new 7000-series cars.

by andrew on Oct 10, 2012 3:10 pm • linkreport

The pedant in me would like to point out that hopefully someone will realize that the transfer indicators on the LCD screens should be the same as the ones on the map, that is, use 2 character abbreviations for the line name instead of just a single character like on the mock up.

by kelly on Oct 10, 2012 3:12 pm • linkreport

I agree with andrew about the harsh color scheme on the interior. The light gray/flat white wall color is subtly disturbing -- "combination of hospital and interrogation room" is an apt description. Maybe someone thought the cream/light beige wall color in the current cars is outdated, but it goes a long way toward softening and warming the florescent lighting.

Also agree with andrew about noise levels. Carpeting has its drawbacks but it does dampen noise. I once rode in a mockup of the 7000 series, and the hard rubber floor didn't dampen noise at all. It was deafening and difficult to talk to people next to you. I hope there is a way to fix that in the 7000 series cars.

by Laurence Aurbach on Oct 10, 2012 3:36 pm • linkreport

Just going to add to everyone else's comments that bench-seating is absolutely the way of the future and it's absolutely ridiculous that WMATA didn't implement it in these. Just another missed opportunity. Have they ever SEEN how nobody wants to move further into the car because it's so difficult to get to the doors from the middle of an aisle?

And that's a system concern. Personally, I would benefit too - I'm abnormally tall (6' 8"), and I just cannot sit in the normal seats without sticking my legs into the aisle. Which obviously sucks for everyone.

by WMATARage on Oct 10, 2012 3:37 pm • linkreport

The large open space with fewer disabled/elderly seats should be at the ends of the car, and the windscreens and extra disabled/elderly seating should be in the middle. This set up would mean: more room for standees; more room for wheeled things (wheelchairs, strollers, luggage); adequate space for bikes (which cannot enter through the center door); and better/faster loading/unloading from 2 of 3 doors, including the most crowded door with pulling all the way up the platform with 6-car trains (the last one). It's only a net loss of 4 seats. Otherwise, looks good!

by Ms. D on Oct 10, 2012 3:42 pm • linkreport

"The LCD screens could show advertising, though Metro has not yet made a decision about that." Ok, does anyone think that they won't have ads on the LCD screens? If the computer system is smart enough, how about targeted ads for a store or restaurant at the upcoming station stops? Got to get that revenue.

Don't care for the new exterior logo. They have a familiar and consistent logo for the stations, wayfinding signs, entrances across the system. Save money and stick with the current logo.

As for the seating, this is the DC Metro commuter-metro hybrid system, not the NYC subway or the T. The number of seats has been cut over the different series models, but keep some transverse seats.

by AlanF on Oct 10, 2012 3:55 pm • linkreport

Re: disco-ball logo. Looks fine on the outside, but on the interior glass panels, it looks like someone used them for target practice. Ugh.

by Arl Fan on Oct 10, 2012 4:17 pm • linkreport

I'm cool with the seating the way it is. I'm normal height (6'3)and I have no problem fitting in the regular seats. Will the info displays show PID display for connecting trains at transfer stations (pretty please)?

by Steve S. on Oct 10, 2012 4:21 pm • linkreport

If production is not beginning until early next year that certainly means that WMATA will have none of these cars in hand by the end of 2013 when the extension to Wiehle Avenue is supposed to open?

Doesn't WMATA need something like 60 rail cars to serve the extension?

Or will they remove cars from other parts of the system?

And wasn't this order placed 3 years ago? If so why is this prototype so late in coming?

by TomQ on Oct 10, 2012 4:49 pm • linkreport

@TomQ

The Silver Line will have to start with existing cars but they have enough extra rolling stock for that. It should only be a few months after that when they are able to start introducing 7000 series trains to service.

The contract was finalized in July 2010, after which Kawasaki had to go through several steps of design process. And part of the process was delayed by the earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan.

by MLD on Oct 10, 2012 5:28 pm • linkreport

@TomQ: Correct. The Silver Line will open before the first 7000-series car is delivered.

I believe that Metro currently has enough "spare" cars to run the extension without cannibalizing existing service, as long as they can work all the way through their maintenance backlog by the end of next year. I believe that there are a fair number of mothballed 1000-series cars sitting at Greenbelt and West Falls Church that can be temporarily put back into service.

In any event, there *will* be some reduction of service between West Falls Church and Vienna to accommodate the Silver Line.

by andrew on Oct 10, 2012 5:32 pm • linkreport

Form over function the primary focus should be to sit/stand as many people as possible not include monitors all over the place.

Some issues that WMATA has always had is seating for tall riders and poles and other devices to hold for shorter riders those should be corrected before a monitor is included.

If they are going to install monitors why not install them as replacements for the large maps in the cars and have them update live ( lines are shutdown or single tracking note that on the map)

by kk` on Oct 10, 2012 5:41 pm • linkreport

Some sort of video advertising is coming to WMATA, at least. From the press release announcing the (presently delayed) mobile network expansion: "The second [wireless] network will support future plans to launch The Metro Channel, which will provide riders with rail and bus service information, news and advertising via monitors in stations, trains and buses."

The Montreal metro, whose deep-bored stations informed Metro's design, has a few stations with 20' tall projection screens. They're actually pretty informative, but then again I've never watched it for more than 5-6 minutes (the typical midday headway).

by Payton on Oct 10, 2012 5:46 pm • linkreport

Quick thoughts...

I hope the layout of the LCD display in the train is just a placeholder. There's gotta be a better way to put the necessary information in that screen.

You mentioned digital instead of analog announcements. Does that imply recorded announcements instead of the mumblings of the drivers?

I like the blue and silver tone of the train interiors. Finally, a Metro train that doesn't look like it was designed in the 70's. But other commenters are right when they point out that bench seating is a requirement, not an option, if the trains are going to have the necessary capacity.

by Jon on Oct 10, 2012 6:57 pm • linkreport

The new Silverliner V cars on SEPTA hs the LCD screens, they show advertisements, display the time, and show text versions of the stop announcements, no route maps unfortunately.

by Mark DeLatch on Oct 10, 2012 7:55 pm • linkreport

I also agree with the comments re: seating for tall riders and accommodations for shorter ones. One of my good friends is quite tall (6'4) and I am a normal height for a woman (5'5). When we ride the Metro together, we often end up standing, since most of the seats are uncomfortable for him, but he often pulls down an overhead hold for me in the newer/retrofitted cars (the metal ones that pop up toward the ceiling when not in use...which I can barely reach, especially since they are situated over seats, increasing the reach necessary to get to them) or shifts to let me have the vertical/wall bar, since I can not only barely reach the overhead bar without the drop-down grab BUT ALSO have a bum shoulder that makes holding the overhead bar reasonable in only very specific positions (I will fall if the train suddenly accelerates or stops if I'm holding onto the overhead bar with the bad arm...it's just not strong enough to hold me up in that position). While I generally have good luck asking taller riders to switch spots with me to get to a vertical bar or drop-down hold, the system is really only ideal for people who are between, IMO, 5'8 and 6', which excludes A LOT of the population.

by Ms. D on Oct 10, 2012 9:38 pm • linkreport

Payton: That Metro Channel project got canceled a year ago or something. Basically WMATA was counting on the money from advertising paying for new screens in stations to replace the old PIDS, but with the ad market collapsing, they couldn't get anywhere near that amount, so they stopped pursuing it, at least for now.

Certainly such a project could come back one day, but I don't believe they are actively pursuing that now.

by David Alpert on Oct 10, 2012 9:57 pm • linkreport

It's hard to tell from these pics but it looks like the new cars are lacking an overhead bar running down the middle of the car's ceiling - as a relatively tall (5'10") person, i regularly use these bars in order to allow shorter passengers to use the other available bars. And i don't know why the debate about transverse seating is always such a big deal, b/c the easiest thing would be to combine the two so one side of the train has it and the other side has the other style (or in my perfect world, b/c i like front/back seating due to motion sickness issues, reduce them to one seat on one side).

by grumpy on Oct 10, 2012 11:25 pm • linkreport

Classic Metro. Lack of interoperability is unbelievable.

by Martys on Oct 11, 2012 8:02 am • linkreport

PLANNING for lack of interoperability? Unbelievable!

by Martys on Oct 11, 2012 8:07 am • linkreport

@Martys:
Yes. Metro considers this a feature, not a flaw. The issue is that the electronics systems in the 7000 cars are much more advanced than those on the 6000s.

Why? Because the most advanced systems on cars that have to be interoperable have to be based on 1974 technology.

If the 7000s had to be interoperable, Metro wouldn't be able to use the CCTV cameras onboard. They wouldn't be able to use the Digital Line Maps. They wouldn't be able to upgrade the PA system from analog to digital.

The 7000s will still be able to couple to trains of the 1-6k sets (for towing broken down trains or whatever), and the 7000s can run on the same lines as the existing fleet.

They just can't operate as passenger trains with members of the current fleet in their consists.

Why do you think this is going to be such a problem?

by Matt Johnson on Oct 11, 2012 8:14 am • linkreport

For those interested in how the logo was chosen, it's a formula that has been used in logo and corporate design for decades. Here's how, in this case, I imagine the logo was designed.

Take one metro system and one second rate graphic designer, add them together. Take that result and put it in front of a bureaucrat who has no clue as to graphic design. Take the bureaucrat's response and tell some uneducated, artistically inept group of staffers to look at it and say "ohhhhhhhh, squares, cool." Why do they say that? Becuase the boss likes it and does anyone think that a group of staffers will disagree with the boss over a logo they are incompetent to review?

Take the result of that committee and toss in a dash of more bureaucrats and advocates. Bake for 6 months in a non working oven, take it and declare "perfect, it's done AND the boss agrees!"

I promise you this, place that logo, the style of which people used in the 1980s (the worst design decade in modern history), in front of a group of Corcoran freshman, they'll laugh and say "Ahhhh, a logo designed by people who are over 50 and have no design training at all."

Fix the formula and you'll get something other than a second rate logo that looks like it was done by someone very creative in high school. If you designed this logo and are reading this, I'd like to say I'm sorry for my harsh comments, but you need to hear them and get some more art training.

I beg Metro, please bring in some talent on this. A contest will produce dozens of good entries from those talented in graphic design.

U-G-H.

PS: This is very, very close to the formula used to select the bicycle art for Adams Morave. Thankfully, it was stopped before it was installed. Talk about a close call!

by Mike R. on Oct 11, 2012 8:26 am • linkreport

Fewer seats. More room for standees, but fewer places for standees to grab on. Not good.

by Feel Wood on Oct 11, 2012 8:49 am • linkreport

Mike R,

I beg Metro, please bring in some talent on this. A contest will produce dozens of good entries from those talented in graphic design.

They don't need to bring in any talent - because there's no need to change the logo at all.

Just put this on the side of the car:

Done and done.

by Alex B. on Oct 11, 2012 9:21 am • linkreport

Having lived in Japan and ridden on the Toyko train system, my first impression is that these cars are cut-and-paste designs from Japan. People are going to love them. No longer will you smell the funk from mildew carpet and smooth stopping. I especially loved having automated clear voice tell me the next stop while the screens flashed. The only difference between the Toyko sytem and Washington Metro will be the quality of the tracks. Toyoko Metro is like riding on glass; DC Metro is like riding on a logging road.

by Ron on Oct 11, 2012 10:20 am • linkreport

Massimo Vignelli claims credit for the idea of using an "M" as the logo. Mr. Vignelli has his detractors, but he's not exactly an amateur.

Though idea was Vignelli's, I'm not actually sure who's responsible for executing the logo. Perhaps someone with ready access to to The Great Society Subway can clarify.

I promise you this, place that logo, the style of which people used in the 1980s (the worst design decade in modern history), in front of a group of Corcoran freshman, they'll laugh and say "Ahhhh, a logo designed by people who are over 50 and have no design training at all."
I've put the Metro logo in front of a class of Corcoran design students. Their main reaction seemed to be recognition that oh, it's the Metro logo. "Done and done."

I am pretty sure, though, that a class of Corcoran students would react with something between derision and offense at the idea that we should put the Metro logo to a contest. Competent designers don't want to work for free. Nor do they want to be spending their time rolling around in the gutter with the talentless, inexperienced, or incompetent people who have the time to take on these kinds of speculative projects.

by David R. on Oct 11, 2012 10:23 am • linkreport

The testing is on the green line because there's a honkin' big yard just over the beltway from the greenbelt station.

The longitudinal seating thing comes up a lot. The fact that metro is wide is pretty significant. It's one thing to stand in the middle of the london tube because you just reach out and you're touching a wall or a ceiling. Standing in the middle of a metro car, and you're adrift in a pretty wide open space. To take out the seats you'd need to add a lot of poles and bars, and I'm not sure that you'd add that much capacity, especially compared to the reduction in comfort you get any time the car isn't overloaded. It sounds like a nifty idea for people who only ride short distances in the core, and like a disaster for anyone riding from the edge.

by Mike on Oct 11, 2012 10:26 am • linkreport

If the armrests are removed there will actually be LESS space in the aisle because 3/4 of the people will sit sideways with their legs out into the aisle. Or people will completely flop out and take the entire seat.

by Bill on Oct 11, 2012 10:27 am • linkreport

By the way, I'm not sure if Mike R. is talking about the original logo or the newer "penumbra" treatment - at any rate, there's nothing particularly 80s about the penumbra. The contest proposition is still one guaranteed to achieve mediocrity, and one that's pretty offensive to people who care about design as a profession.

by David R. on Oct 11, 2012 10:28 am • linkreport

I'm confused at people complaining about the logo. Am I missing something? It IS the old M logo. It just has lots of little white squares around it.

by Andrew on Oct 11, 2012 10:29 am • linkreport

I'm confused at people complaining about the logo. Am I missing something? It IS the old M logo. It just has lots of little white squares around it.

What is the purpose of those squares? Why? Why did they add them?

Matt Johnson raised a good point, too - regardless of which logo they use, why isn't the logo centered at the height of the windows? (just like the current logo is)

by Alex B. on Oct 11, 2012 10:41 am • linkreport

Check this out: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed/Siemens_train.jpg

Same space as a subway pole, but much better.

by Mike R. on Oct 11, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

With the Phase 2 of the Silver Line now set, how many Series 7000 cars are now planned to be ordered? With the different options that were being discussed several years ago, I'm not up on exactly how many new cars will be ordered.

by AlanF on Oct 11, 2012 12:20 pm • linkreport

@AlanF:
Currently, Metro has ordered:
>Base: 64 cars for Silver Phase I.
>Option: 64 cars for Silver Phase II.
>Option: 300 cars to replace 1000-series.

Metro has NOT yet exercised the remaining options, though they might do so, should funding become available.
>Option: 100 cars to replace/rehab 4000-series.
>Option: 130 cars for 75% 8-car train operation.
>Option: 90 cars for 100% 8-car train operation.

Read more about the options: http://ggwash.org/5332

by Matt Johnson on Oct 11, 2012 12:25 pm • linkreport

@Jasper
Why would they test between King St and Van Dorn?

@Justin
Metro cars are usually delivered via flatbed truck, not rail. The Greenbelt yard is one of the newest and by far the largest Metro yard. The Greenbelt yard has long been the default test location for new Metro cars, and now they are building the test track as well as a dedicated test facility and parking garage on the site.

After testing the 7000-series will probably be run exclusively on the Green Line for a while, before moving to the other lines (including the Silver Line), just like the 6000-series.

by King Terrapin on Oct 11, 2012 12:27 pm • linkreport

As before, I think the new car looks great. With a reliable builder like Kawasaki constructing them they should be very reliable and last a loooonnngg time. The cars definitely have a strong resemblence to NYCTA's R160 cars inside and out, but look less boxy and more modern.

I really like the new logo as well. My favorite feature though is the LCD displays, which can be very useful for displaying helpful information (closures, elevator outages, transfer information, etc.) if Metro uses them correctly. I really, really, hope that we don't have to hear Randi Miller's very annoying voice anymore, and that Metro hires someone that actually has an attractive voice for thedoor/station announcements.

Things I don't like would be the removal of the outside armrests and the loss of the previous cars' inviting and "luxurious" interior. While the new interior is more efficient and modern it looks a bit more spartan without the padded seats and carpeting.

I was really hoping they would do a public unveiling of the mock-up, ideally on track 3 (the middle track) at National Airport, but the cars have no trucks...

by King Terrapin on Oct 11, 2012 12:48 pm • linkreport

@Justin, @Jasper, @King Terrapin:
Metro tests between Greenbelt and College Park because it's the only place in the system that meets their qualifications:

1. Track must be near a rail yard.
2. Track must be at least 12,000 feet long
3. Track must be straight and level to allow speed testing.
4. WMATA must already own the land.

The only place that met those criteria was the section between Greenbelt and College Park.

by Matt Johnson on Oct 11, 2012 12:51 pm • linkreport

No smelly/moldy carpet! This factor, alone, makes for a huge improvement.

The bold shade of blue - rather than muted tones that look like things I've thrown up - also is a huge improvement, as is no armrests.

by Capt. Hilts on Oct 11, 2012 12:57 pm • linkreport

It'd be nice if they had lower-hanging overhead grab loops or bars for shorter people to use when they're stuck standing in the middle of a group of people during rush hour and have nothing to hold on to. From the pictures it looks like the trains only have the tall grab bars over the seats and none for people standing in the middle of a crowded aisle.

by Renee on Oct 11, 2012 1:03 pm • linkreport

Renee, I'm short and have the same problem.

A few poles would make a world of difference because several people can hold onto them - no matter what their height.

by Capt. Hilts on Oct 11, 2012 1:06 pm • linkreport

Count me among those not thrilled with the lack of carpeting. I rode on BART a few weeks ago and more than anything I noticed how much noiser those cars are than WMATA cars. Maybe the 7000-series cars have other kinds of sound insulation to compensate. I hope so.

by c5karl on Oct 11, 2012 1:24 pm • linkreport

My metro ride is 40 minutes if there aren't any delays and I'm older and I really don't want to stand on a lurching train for 40 minutes. I plan on taking the silver line which will be an even longer ride and again, I would really like to be able to sit in a forward facing seat. The sideways seats rock me back and forth which hurts my back. I have experienced this in other systems. And I get motion sickness if I'm not facing forward.

I use metro service as a commuter line rather than a subway and since the orange line is full all the way out to the end during rush hour, I think a lot of other people use it this way too. Of course a train with an average ride of 5 or 10 minutes, it is fine to stand or sit sideways. But many of us are riding it for 30 minutes or longer and I don’t think it is appropriate to not provide seats. Some commuter trains have much more comfortable seats, plugs and other amenities.

by Lucy on Oct 11, 2012 1:46 pm • linkreport

Count me in with those who won't miss the nasty carpet smell. It was a nice idea, but requires a higher level of maintenance than WMATA is capable of providing.

by Mike on Oct 11, 2012 2:27 pm • linkreport

WMATA was actually supposed to remove all the carpeting in their current fleet and replace it with flooring similar to the type found in the 6000-series. I wonder why they didn't go through with it.

In any case I like the look and sound-deadening properties of the carpet, but agree that it's probably not worth the fuss of maintaining it.

Things like carpet, plenty of seats, thick cushioning for the seats, and armrests are luxury features given up for a more efficient, utilitarian interior. This approach admittedly makes more sense for the busy, heavy ridership, transportation-appliance system we have today, rather than the lighter use system that existed when Metro opened. Back then the system was designed to draw motorists from their cars at a time when traffic wasn't as bad as it is today.

by King Terrapin on Oct 11, 2012 2:52 pm • linkreport

Like a lot of others, I like the new design EXCEPT for the lack of longitudinal seating. The longitudinal seating design (http://wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/board_docs/032510_37000PresentationwithResolutions032510.pdf#page=15) only had 8 less seats than the current type of seating layout. It is a shame the lack of foresight on Metro's part to resolve capacity issues to not go forward with longitudinal seating. Heck, even making the new cars' seating half longitudinal - alternating sides with one side rowed seating and the other longitudinal - would be a compromise yet still raise the standing capacity of the cars.

by Janel B on Oct 11, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

It's the carpeting that contributes greatly to the "Red Line Sickness" that affects riders with longer rides. It's full of black mold and rarely cleaned. It gives the system its musty smell.

by Capt. Hilts on Oct 11, 2012 3:14 pm • linkreport

It's a shame that the digital line maps don't also show if the stop is a transfer station. That's a significant detail that's being omitted.

by 7r3y3r on Oct 12, 2012 9:11 am • linkreport

@Matt, thanks for the summary of the series 7000 order and the status of the options. Ok, so the WMATA has yet to decide what to do with the Series 4000 cars.

If the initial cars prove satisfactory after a couple of months in revenue service and the options are still available, that would be a logical time to order more cars for 75% 8 car train operation and replace or refurb the series 4000 cars. The Metro system needs to be prepared for resumption of ridership growth.

Just hope the Series 7000 deliveries and Phase I of the Silver Line stay on schedule.

by AlanF on Oct 12, 2012 9:57 am • linkreport

Overall the new 7000 series cars look great. Good job, Metro.

As for constructive comments:

(1) I do agree with a number of the previous posters that Metro should consider longitudinal seating in the center of the cars. We should at least consider adding a few more longitudinal seats around the doorways (like three- or four-seater benches instead of the current max of two seats). This is an argument for greater overall efficiency and comfort for standees, tall seated passengers, and overall ease of movement about the car.

(2) The actual color of the exterior line displays should be more BOLD and PROMINENT. The entire digital display should be awash in red color for a Red Line train. What we currently have on the 7000 mockup is barely an upgrade from digital displays we had on the Breda cars from the early 1980s. A rider should be able to glance at an approaching train and identify the line designation without having to read the words "Red" "Yellow" etc, or having to squint to see the color display. This will be increasingly important as we move toward three colored lines running along every trunk line aside from the Red Line.

by nativedc on Oct 12, 2012 3:47 pm • linkreport

I'll withhold judgment on the new car until I experience it for myself. Are there fewer seats? Are they less comfortable? Is the noise level, as someone pointed out earlier, higher?

Is the new car a step back, in comfort and experience, for people who travel from the outer stops?

There's something comforting about the familiar. The transition may be jarring for some.

I hope Metro got this change right. It will need to be a clear improvement.

by kob on Dec 27, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

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