Metro begins procurement for up to 800 railcars in Washington

Photo: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Photo: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) has taken the first steps towards acquiring its next generation trains by issuing a request for proposals for the design and construction of at least 256 8000-series railcars.

Delivery will start in 2024 and allow Metro to retire the 2000 and 3000-series railcars, which are at the end of their 40-year service life.

The contract includes the option for Metro to purchase up to 800 railcars, giving it the flexibility to expand trains to the maximum eight-car length, run trains more frequently during rush hours, and retire the 6000-series fleet in instead of a midlife overhaul programme.

Like the 7000-series, the 8000-series cars will incorporate advanced safety technology and improve customer experience with new features, including:

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  • New digital advertising screens to generate revenue;
  • Support for remote public announcements from the rail operations control centre, in addition to automated and train-operator announcements;
  • Dynamic digital system maps rather than paper maps;
  • Power outlets for charging electronic devices;
  • Additional hand holds, improvements to lighting, floor markings and signage.

Proposals for the new railcars are due in late January. Metro expects to award the contract late in 2019.

CEO Paul Wiedefeld said: “Today Metro is beginning the multi-year process of acquiring our next railcar fleet, which will take everything our customers love about 7000-series trains and build upon that success.

“I would take this opportunity to again thank our local jurisdictions – Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia – for creating a dedicated capital funding source for Metro that has made this possible.”

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