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Metro swaps out carpets for slip-resistant floors

Tired of carpeting on Metro during your commute? Soon you will see much less of it. WMATA is installing new slip-resistant flooring in some of its railcars. Today they shared some pictures of installing this so-called "resilient flooring."

All photos by Metro Forward on Flickr.

Metro plans on installing this flooring in all of its 5000 and 6000 series railcars over the next 2 years. This floor will also go in the new 7000 series railcars.

The new flooring is easier and cheaper to maintain than the old carpets, which had to be replaced every 5 years. The new flooring should last at least 25 years.

Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  


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I think this is a good move in terms of maintenance. However, I wish they would've made a better effort at matching the color of the previous carpets. The flooring is one of the single largest surfaces in the rail car. The feel of the test cars with the dark flooring (black or gray) is quite different from the reddish maroon of the old carpet.

You can easily get this kind of flooring in a range of colors, including ones that would mimic the look and color (if not the feel) of the old carpet.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2014 2:54 pm • linkreport

The dark mottled color probably hides stains better.

by Bob See on Jan 31, 2014 2:56 pm • linkreport

Resilient flooring is definitely in keeping with the resiliency that's the hallmark of Metrorail.

by Gray on Jan 31, 2014 2:59 pm • linkreport

Yeah I like the new color better myself.

by BTA on Jan 31, 2014 3:08 pm • linkreport

From that first photo I thought they were going with nice hardwood flooring, freshly harvested from the mightiest redwoods and artisinally crafted to suit the finer tastes of DC socialites.

by Bossi on Jan 31, 2014 3:12 pm • linkreport

I concur on color. I would not want this new flooring to look anything like Metro's old 70s brown and orange. Eww.

by JDC on Jan 31, 2014 3:13 pm • linkreport

They've been testing it for a while now, at least on the Blue Line. It's not prettier.

by Jasper on Jan 31, 2014 3:25 pm • linkreport

Hate the new flooring. Miss the carpets.

by JoeyDC on Jan 31, 2014 3:30 pm • linkreport

I've ridden in a few solid floor cars now, and I think it's a vast improvement. Just this change makes the existing cars feel larger and cleaner.

I really feel for those workers. The mere thought of handling used Metro carpet is "Fear Factor" level gross.

by sproc on Jan 31, 2014 3:41 pm • linkreport

Glad they are getting rid of the carpet, but I agree, black isnt the best color.

by Richard on Jan 31, 2014 3:51 pm • linkreport

They replace that carpet every 5 years?!? I just assumed it was all original - mostly because I've never seen a Metro carpet that looked even remotely new or clean.

In the picture above it looks like the bases for the bi-directional seats are keeping their carpet?

by Kelli on Jan 31, 2014 3:57 pm • linkreport

Those slip resistant floors are far from that the carpets were better at slip resistance. WMATA should have tried harder on finding something slip resistance. When those floors get wet they are very slippery to the point where you need a wet floor sign.

by kk on Jan 31, 2014 4:02 pm • linkreport

Missed opportunity to switch everything to longitudinal seating!

by Low Headways on Jan 31, 2014 4:09 pm • linkreport

I am all for 'cheaper and easier to maintain' and I don't have any particular affection for the carpet, so in general this is something I support. However, I would caution people not to assume the flooring will be cleaner - just think of the floor of a Metro bus for an idea of what we'll be seeing on the trains pretty soon - there's plenty of outdoor stations where rain and snow/sludge & salt will be tracked in from the platforms to the train floors. Will they be mopped out at the end of the line turn around? Maybe.

by Somewhat Better on Jan 31, 2014 4:09 pm • linkreport

@ Somewhat Better - I believe trash is picked up nightly from the railcars and that they are vacuumed weekly. The carpet is washed several times a year, I think. I would imagine that, while the floors might SHOW dirt quicker than carpeting, the ability to wash the floors weekly will mean that they are cleaner, versus all of the gunk hidden in carpeting and the odors it emits.

by JDC on Jan 31, 2014 4:14 pm • linkreport

See this pdf page 67 for details on Metro's cleaning procedures:

by JDC on Jan 31, 2014 4:17 pm • linkreport

This will significantly cut down on mold.

Perhaps, the "Red Line Sickness" will be history, along with the moldy carpeting.

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 31, 2014 4:24 pm • linkreport

That carpet is just another of many reasons why WMATA is as inefficient as they come. It spent unnecessary amounts shampooing the carpets every 2 months and replacing them each year.

Of course it took 6 years for WMATA to finally ditch the carpets after publicly admitting how inefficient it was to keep them.

by Burd on Jan 31, 2014 4:38 pm • linkreport

I think it's an improvement. I just hope that they get rid of the vinyl cushioned seats with all the cracks and crevices. I am always afraid something is going to crawl out and bite me. It also seems like the attendants do not enforce the no eating/drinking rule as well as they did in the past.

by TheCharlee on Jan 31, 2014 5:19 pm • linkreport

The vinyl flooring probably makes more sense, but I'll miss the carpeting. Not only did they seem more comfortable, but they made the cars far less noisy than the new vinyl-floored cars are. Between there being less insulation between the interior and the wheels and the echo effect, the new floored cars are much louder.

by TM on Jan 31, 2014 10:14 pm • linkreport

The carpeting was FILTHY and MOLDY and made the cars STINK.

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 31, 2014 10:23 pm • linkreport


It's not vinyl, it's a rubber/neoprene composite. The squares are 36" X 36" X 1/4", they weigh about 5 lb each. I salvaged about a dozen and a half of some red with white speckles out of a dumpster in Baltimore last summer. Dirt will stick to them pretty easily. They don't do to well where temperatures fluctuate plus or minus 15 degrees, they expand and contract as temperatures rise and fall. I don't think expansion and contraction will be an issue because the interior temperature of the cars is pretty stable and the product is being glued to the sub floors.

by Sand Box John on Jan 31, 2014 11:15 pm • linkreport

It's long past time. The carpets are filthy and tacky.

by ceefer66 on Feb 1, 2014 11:52 am • linkreport

How old are these pictures? In one of them you can clearly see the Blue Line at Franconia-Springfield with no Yellow Line Rush Plus next to it..

by MIA to DMV on Feb 1, 2014 9:50 pm • linkreport

How similar is this stuff to gym flooring?

Serious question. I'm wondering about whether or not this stuff is easier to stand on over long trips relative to the carpet.

by Ryan on Feb 1, 2014 11:02 pm • linkreport


The product is similar to stand workstation floor mats, only thinner.

by Sand Box John on Feb 2, 2014 6:52 pm • linkreport

Fantastic! New floor!
that will solve all our problems:
No more metro meltdown! No more 24 min wait on the weekend! No more cracked rails when it is barely freezing! No more rude employees!
We will be on time at meeting, the ride will be smoother, we will have big smiles granted every day from the metro employees and the fares will go down!
Thank you metro for all your improvements!
And thank you GGW to forward Metro Propaganda.

by NoNo on Feb 3, 2014 9:41 am • linkreport

NoNo right! And fixing those floors will mean that days like today's won't happen as often - where 5 stations on the Red Line becomes dangerously overcrowded until security blocks people from going downstairs - all while not a single WMATA Metro Alert warns people of the risks.
But hey, fix that carpet to vinyl finally after years of wasting money shampooing them. That's priority.

by asffa on Feb 3, 2014 3:41 pm • linkreport

If this is the same flooring that is currently in a few of the newer rail cars, I was on a car with them the other day when it has just snowed the day before, and the floors were both slippery and filthy.

by grumpy on Feb 3, 2014 4:33 pm • linkreport

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