WMTA has started public consultation on the new Washington metro fleet inviting customers to visit a pop-up exhibit at Gallery Place – Chinatown Metro Station to view current concepts and provide input on the look, layout, and features of trains.
The pop-up will feature physical samples, renderings, and videos allowing the public to interact with and provide feedback on the design of the new trains.
“We’re designing Metro’s fleet of the future for all of our customers, and we’re working hard to get as much public input as possible throughout the process. Metro’s next generation of trains will serve our region for decades, so we must ensure customer needs are met, while incorporating advances in technology that will allow our system to evolve with our trains,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMTA, Washington Metro) said.
The proposed concepts for Metro’s train fleet of the future include safety improvements, customer experience improvements, accessibility and sustainability improvements.
The new trains will be with open gangways between two cars to improve safety and customer flow, especially for customers traveling with wheelchairs, bicycles, luggage, and strollers. They will be equipped with expanded CCTV coverage and real-time train monitoring and illuminated emergency call buttons for improved visibility.
The new trains will offer passengers charging ports, reconfigured seating, with more horizontal seating to increase capacity and create wider aisles and increased size and number digital information displays in more visible locations.
Accessibility improvements will be provided by designated space for wheelchairs, separate from space for bicycles, luggage, strollers, floor to ceiling handholds at centre of cars, new LED lighting to indicate doors opening and closing and clearer public announcement systems.
The new trains will be built by Hitachi Rail at a new factory in Hagerstown, Maryland, a 41-acre area which will also be equipped with a 1 km test track allowing dynamic testing of trains on site.
In 202, WMTA and Hitachi Rail signed a USD 2.2 billion contract for the supply of 256 rail cars of 8000-series which would be delivered from 2024.
The new Washington metro fleet is expected to enter passenger services in 2026.