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Metro selects a company to build its new 8000-series railcars 

Metro selects a company to build its new 8000-series railcars 

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A railcar at Rhode Island Ave Metro by airbus777 licensed under Creative Commons.

Riders could soon get an upgrade on their transit ride as Metro announced Wednesday that Hitachi Rail has been selected to build the system’s 8000-series railcars in the US. The transit agency says the deal, valued at $2.2 billion, includes a base contract for 256 cars, with an option of buy up to 800. The move could help spur job growth in the region.

“The 8000-series railcars will modernize the Metro fleet with Hitachi building on the success of the newest 7000-series cars to provide reliable, comfortable and safe transportation for our region and contribute to the local economy,” Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a press release. “The new railcars will take everything customers love about the 7000-series and incorporate the latest technology and features that will serve hundreds of millions of passengers over the cars’ 40-year lifespan.”

What’s new about the 8000-series

The 8000-series railcars will be lighter and more sustainable, according to Metro. Riders may see more real time information, more maps, and charging stations for devices. More cameras are expected to be installed in the railcars, as well as an improved ventilation system.

This series is expected to replace the 2000- and 3000-series which have been operating since 1983. The 7000-series train debuted in the region in 2015.

Hitachi Rail, which has built trains for transit systems in Baltimore, Miami, and Honolulu, is looking for places in the Washington region to build an assembly plant for the new railcars.

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Some have argued that Metro’s funds could be better spent upgrading the 7000-series, as opposed to buying new railcars outright, arguing that the more series cars in operation the more difficult it is to maintain them.

Another downside to a new series: the timeline from contract to stepping or rolling inside a new train could be lengthy, as it was with previous versions.

Metro announced during the request for proposal period that the 8000-series could be in operation by 2024.

George Kevin Jordan is GGWash’s Managing Editor. He is a proud resident of Hillcrest in DC’s Ward 7. He was born and raised in Milwaukee and has written for many publications, most recently the AFRO and about HIV/AIDS issues for TheBody.com.



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