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Merry Christmas to Metro: First 7000-series railcar is here

Last week, the first three of Metro's new 7000-series railcars arrived at the Greenbelt railyard.

A 4th car is scheduled to arrive next week, after which Metro will begin testing them. The bulk of the new railcars won't begin to arrive until several months later. Riders will begin to see them in service late in 2014.

7000-series Metro car at Greenbelt yard.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

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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What's the status of the test track?

by Dizzy on Dec 24, 2013 12:41 pm • linkreport

The first car was loaded out of Lincoln Nebraska on 12 11 3013.

New Kawasaki rail cars going to D.C.
12 11 2013

2 other cars have also arrived, the 4th is expected to arrive after Christmas.

The car in the pictures is 7006, one can safely assume the others 3 will be 7003, 7004 and 7005.

The prototype set will be evaluated during an extensive testing process that will last roughly 90 days, any problems discovered will be corrected, the modification if pessary will be incorporated in the production cars.

by Sand Box John on Dec 24, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport


Went by Greenbelt yard on the evening of 12 13 2013 hoping to see if the first car had arrived yet. Construction of the test track is well underway but no where near ready to be used to test these cars or the first of the production cars that will come later. The commissioning facility building also has not been finished interior framing had no drywall on it and there was no glazing in the window openings.

by Sand Box John on Dec 24, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

Thanks much, Mr. Cambron!

by Dizzy on Dec 24, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

I wouldn't have believed it before, but I'm missing the 70s-style brown accents on the cars.

by ImThat1Guy on Dec 24, 2013 4:44 pm • linkreport

It's so true. It's soulless without the stripe.

by Neil Flanagan on Dec 24, 2013 9:57 pm • linkreport

Also, they moved the outer doors towards the center of the train to get more crumple zones near the ends of the car. They kept the same number of windows, but the ones in between the doors seem scrunched, while there is more empty wall space on the ends.

by Alex B. on Dec 24, 2013 10:05 pm • linkreport

@Alex B

Railroad cars don't have 'crumple zones' like automobiles.

The relocation of the doors allows more area in the ends cars for larger and stronger structural members to resist crushing during impact.

by Sand Box John on Dec 24, 2013 10:22 pm • linkreport

Crumple zones, or 'crash energy management' - whatever you want to call it. Same principle.

It still looks somewhat awkward compared to the proportion of the original cars.

by Alex B. on Dec 24, 2013 10:36 pm • linkreport

It looks so generic. You can hardly see the starburst pattern on the car.

Can't wait to sit in one and try it out though. I wonder how loud it will be without the carpets.

by Steven T on Dec 24, 2013 11:45 pm • linkreport

@Alex B

North American railroad cars are designed to not deform on impact. That is why you can't run European passenger trains on North American common carrier railroads. The same design thinking also applies to rapid transit.

by Sand Box John on Dec 25, 2013 7:00 am • linkreport

John, I am well aware of the FRA rules. I would also note that the design matters little, as FRA compliant rail cars still get destroyed in bad crashes anyway.

Their rules also do not apply to transit agencies like WMATA. WMATAs own procurement documents talk explicitly about the new crash energy management design in the 7000 series. Whether the zones that absorb that energy 'crumple' or not is beside the point.

by Alex B. on Dec 25, 2013 9:47 am • linkreport

Here is a nice summary of the crash energy management designs in the 7000 series - including crumple zones:’s-7000-Series-Car–The-Leap-Forward.pdf

by Alex B. on Dec 25, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

@Alex B.

To me the other 2 points described in that document are the real leap forward.

The improvements made to increase the crash worthiness of the 7k cars predates the event of 06 22 2009.

by Sand Box John on Dec 27, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

It's so true. It's soulless without the stripe.

Anyone know if it will be possible to add the stripe back? Or is it one of those things that is minor during construction, but would be shockingly expensive to do after?

by JW on Dec 27, 2013 1:06 pm • linkreport


Adding the stripe would cost less then what it costs to produce and apply an advertizing wrap.

by Sand Box John on Dec 27, 2013 1:29 pm • linkreport

Looks like a naked tin can now that they've subtracted the the stripe and maybe 20% of the window area. Urgh.

by Payton Chung on Dec 30, 2013 12:28 pm • linkreport

WOW. That could not be any uglier.

by GA on Jan 4, 2014 9:14 pm • linkreport

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