D.C. launches new rail cars funded by DOT

State-of-the-art 7000-series rail cars for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) Metrorail system made their inaugural trips in Arlington, Virginia, Monday.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez and Federal Transit Acting Administrator Therese McMillan joined transportation industry officials and area leaders, including Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, to commemorate the new fleet that numbers over 500 and is designed to provide the Metro ridership with a safer, more comfortable ride as well as expand the system’s overall capacity.

WMATA can mark a significant achievement with the acquisition of these cars, replacing all 300 of Metro’s 1000-series cars — some of which have been in service for nearly 40 years. The replacement follows a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) following a fatal June 2009 Metrorail collision at Fort Totten Station, in the northeast part of Washington, D.C. near the Maryland border.

That accident prompted President Barack Obama’s administration to address safety issues and secure new transportation funding nationwide via the GROW AMERICA Act, a comprehensive multi-year program to fund infrastructure improvements.

“Safety is our number one priority, and WMATA’s 7000-series rail cars are specifically designed to move hundreds of thousands of daily riders as safely as possible as they travel to work, school, doctor’s appointments and other destinations,” Mendez said. 

The new 7000-series rail cars will eventually be deployed throughout Metrorail’s entire fleet, including the new Silver Line as it expands to serve Dulles International Airport.