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Progress on new Metro railcars

Metro's new 7000 series railcars are making progress at their factory in Japan. On Wednesday, WMATA posted this video of a new train moving under its own power.

7000 series cars will begin arriving in 2014.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and professor of geography at George Washington University, but blogs to express personal views. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado, and lives in NE DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post


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It's interesting how you see neither a 3rd rail nor the rear of the train. Also, no lights on inside. Are you sure it's "moving under its own power"?

by FixWMATA on Jul 5, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

You can see what looks like some sort of pantograph toward the back of the train. Not sure if it is on a locomotive that you just can't see, or some sort of odd attachment that channels electricity from the catenary to the shoes.

by orulz on Jul 5, 2013 12:25 pm • linkreport

Is it just me, or do those windows look a lot smaller? It certainly looks like they are (side comparison:

by Peter K on Jul 5, 2013 12:38 pm • linkreport

They are smaller. The door location has changed. The end doors have been squeezed more towards the middle of the car.

by Alex B. on Jul 5, 2013 12:42 pm • linkreport

Those cars are looking really Spartan without the brown stripe. I can appreciate the need to modernize, but if they wanted to do that they should have redesigned the car exterior instead of giving it a new paint job (or make it lack one). These cars look like they would have been at home in the 1980s.

By comparison, look at what BART's doing for their cars scheduled for delivery in 2017:

by Omar on Jul 5, 2013 12:50 pm • linkreport

I hope they finally got rid of the carpeting.

by Frank IBC on Jul 5, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

@ orulz - The pantograph appears to be on top of the rear car. There is no third rail, only catenary overhead.

I hate that "squawk" at 0:06.

by Frank IBC on Jul 5, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

WMATA posted this clip on Youtube back in second week in June. A link to it was posted in the WMATA 7000 Series to have CCTV, Electronic Maps thread on June 13 at

And yes the windows between the doors are smaller. The end doors were moved closer to the center of the cars roughly 24" to allow for more structure strength near the ends of the cars to improve their crash worthiness.

Oh, the drawings of the 7k cars were done by me shortly after WMATA posted the RFP documents. The drawings of the 1k cars were created about 20 years ago based on drawings I got from Cody Phanstiehl more the 35 years ago.

by Sand Box John on Jul 5, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

I'm also disappointed about the brown stripe - I'm fine if they want to get rid of the brown, but the stripe was meant to coordinate the train carefully with the station. I think it changes riders' sense of the space while the train is waiting in the station. The old look made it feel like a piece of the system, whereas, the LA metro's trains or the NYC subway's cars just feel like random trains that could be from anywhere. Just my opinion.

by Neil Flanagan on Jul 5, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

more structure strength near the ends of the cars to improve their crash worthiness

Ah, so it sounds like the bane of America's transportation design is getting worse, not better over time. I like how the Europeans focus on preventing crashes rather than needlessly weighing down cars to help them survive one. We could take a cue from them, if our culture emphasized competence instead of limiting liability. :)

by Omar on Jul 5, 2013 4:09 pm • linkreport

Seeing those cars side-by-side really helps, Sand Box John. I like how the destination signs were on the edges before … makes more sense closer to the doors where people are boarding. Looks sharper too.

by Omar on Jul 5, 2013 4:10 pm • linkreport

I'm in agreement about the brown strip, although I think updating to a smoke gray strip would be ok. In any case from a design standpoint it anchors the cars and emphasizes the horizontal lines and provides an illusion of larger window area.

The bigger annoyance however is why does Metro continue to commission mildly refreshed replicas of the circa 1967-style design? Finally cut the crap and put 4 doors on each side, figure out how to make complete walk-thru cars from end to end, and maybe just maybe consider that there might be suitable semi-stock models that could work well in the WMATA system instead of commissioning various companies to build to WMATAs spec. Is this physical design going to continue forever? Will the cars still look the same in 2075 too? Why?

by spookiness on Jul 5, 2013 4:10 pm • linkreport

Ew, without the stripe it looks naked. Naked.

by Steven Harrell on Jul 5, 2013 7:09 pm • linkreport


You can improve the crashworthiness of the cars without actually adding any extra weight to the cars themselves, the placement of doors is one of the ways that crashworthiness can be improved. For example, by moving the doors towards the center of the car, a crumple zone can be designed at the end of the cars without adding more material, actually saving weight on the train itself.

by Dan on Jul 5, 2013 9:02 pm • linkreport

I thought the window size was just my eyes playing tricks on me. I'm disappointed they are smaller now.

I'm pretty sure the naked silver sides won't be the same when finished though. The mock ups has this starburst pattern with the Metro logo in the middle.

by Steven on Jul 5, 2013 10:42 pm • linkreport

Overall, it doesn't look like there's much of a loss of window surface area. What was minimized in the middle windows was added to the end windows, more or less. Also, how many miles are above ground versus underground?

by 7r3y3r on Jul 5, 2013 10:54 pm • linkreport

I cannot believe I just spent 20 seconds of my life to watch this. And then spending another minute to type this reply.

I guess this means I need to find a new place to stand on the platform for these train doors.

by Ray B on Jul 5, 2013 11:58 pm • linkreport


In the case of the C car, yes, and that's only because both ends of the C car are the same, 8 windows. In the case of the A and B cars the square footage of the glazing is less, 7 windows, all the passenger compartment windows are the same size.

FYI: The 7k cars are A-C+C-B sets. The systems shared between the A and B cars in the existing fleet are shared between the cars with cabs in them in the 7k cars. The cabless cars are neither an A car or a B car making them for all practical purposes C cars.

by Sand Box John on Jul 6, 2013 9:02 am • linkreport

@7r3y3r, approximately 50 miles of the Metro system is underground versus 56 miles above ground. The Silver Line extension will add 23 miles on the surface or elevated with a short 1500' tunnel. So there will be scenery to look at through the windows for most of the system miles. Even on the underground segment, you can use the windows to see what station you are at if you don't a view of the internal displays or can't understand the announcements.

by AlanF on Jul 6, 2013 10:38 am • linkreport

Wow, that's a lot of blank wall. For the next series, in addition to fully articulated trainsets, I vote for plug doors so that there can be windows next to/behind the doors. As Alan points out, much of our system is aboveground, and in fact our system offers some great views -- the Yellow Line in particular.

by Payton on Jul 7, 2013 11:11 pm • linkreport

blank wall= ad space...not sure if that was the intention, but hope they take advantage of it.

by RJ on Jul 8, 2013 8:15 am • linkreport

Eh, advertising will find a way. WMATA doesn't have many liner ads above the windows, and I've only seen a few on the ceilings. The car ends, the perpendicular panels just inside the doorways, the new interior LCDs, and the new vinyl floor (no longer carpet!) are also ripe for ads. The LCD displays can be complemented with projectors in the stations, as in Montreal. Ryanair puts ads on the seat backs.

Now that we have a freeway-median line, train exteriors will be ripe for advertising wraps. Those don't completely block the windows, either.

by Payton on Jul 8, 2013 1:34 pm • linkreport

Please NO CARPETING!!!!!!

It's nasty dirty and moldy!

I can't bee-leeve I'm seeing new carpeting in some cars! STOP that - right NOW!

by Capt. Hilts on Jul 9, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

Omar, look at what Toronto's new subway cars look like:

by Capt. Hilts on Jul 9, 2013 3:01 pm • linkreport

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