D.C. Metro Wants Buy Lots of New Railcars
"Metro announced on Tuesday, September 4 that the agency is looking to buy anywhere from 256 to 800 new '8000-series' railcars to replace the oldest cars in the current fleet," reports Stephen Repetski.
Repetski's take on the new order of railcars, announced in a Request for Proposals (RFP) and a press release, is that the new 8000 series cars won't advance much beyond the system's newest cars—7000 series cars that have been plagued with technical issues.
The new 8000s, "won’t have major new features like increasing the number of doors per side or include open gangways, which would increase space for passengers and allow them to walk through cars," according to Repetski. Instead, 8000s will have "small tweaks and 'popular features'," like digital advertising screens, digital system maps, power outlets, additional handholds, and lighting and ADA improvements.
Another key point to consider from the RFP is the wide spectrum of potential cars that Metro intends to buy, anywhere from 256 to 800. The flexibility allowed by that spectrum could allow Metro to buy cars for years, replacing 40-year-old 2000/3000-series railcars and 20-year-old 6000-series railcars. The new railcars will also create new problems elsewhere in the system that will need to be addressed by system planners and engineers.