WASHINGTON – Earlier this month, Metro officially introduced its first six new 6000 series train on the Green Line.
The first three pairs, operating as a six-car train, departed the Greenbelt Metrorail station at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 3, to the Branch Avenue Metrorail station. By the end of the year, 50 of the new cars are expected to be in service, and by the end of 2008, Metro expects to have all 184 of these new rail cars in service.
“Once again, the Metrorail system has achieved another milestone in its illustrious 30-year history,” said Gladys Mack, Chairperson of Metro’s Board of Directors. “We are extremely proud to unveil these new rail cars on the Green Line. Our passengers and employees have been eagerly awaiting these rail cars to help alleviate crowding. This means that relief is on the way.”
The new 6000 series rail cars have a slightly modified look, including additional overhead and seat back-to-ceiling handrails and fewer windscreens. The floor-to-ceilin poles were removed to eliminate obstructions in the doorways and allow improved passenger flow down the aisles.
“The additional handrails and seat back poles installed along the aisles should be helpful for people of all heights,” said Dan Tangherlini, Metro’s Interim General Manager. “We think that this modified interior encourages people to walk down the aisle, away from the doors. Because the floor-to-ceiling poles are no longer there, it will be easier for people who are in the aisles to get out without ‘fear’ of missing their stop.”
Also, the removal of the floor-ceiling poles means improved movement for wheelchairs, bicycles, strollers, luggage and people with visual impairments.
“Our Board of Directors recently approved a plan to deploy the first 50 of Metro’s new 6000 series rail cars by December,” Mrs. Mack explained. “The new rail cars will be used to relieve crowding on all rail lines during the rush hour. We will equally distribute 40 of the new rail cars among all the rail lines, with 10 additional cars to be held in reserve,” she said.
Metro has seen a 5.5 percent increase in total systemwide ridership in the last year and a 15.9 percent increase in the last five years. “This initial deployment of these first 50 cars will help spread the wealth to all rail lines, and by December, our passengers should begin to see a difference,” said Mr. Tangherlini.
As the first 50 cars are brought into the fleet, Metro will begin to operate initial 8-car train service on the Red and Green Lines. Yellow Line riders will have all 6-car trains, and Blue Line riders will see two 4-car trains converted to 6-car trains by the end of the year.
Early next year, Metro officials will discuss the deployment plan of the remaining 134 of the new 6000-series rail cars, which will be delivered through 2008.
The new 6000 series rail cars contain several amenities for providing safe, attractive, convenient, and reliable service for all customers, including those with mobility requirements.
Features of these amenities include new interior electronic next station signs at the front, center, and rear of each car (four total) that also indicates line color and door opening side, new emergency call box station at the center of each car, new door closing warning light, a double row of handrails along the ceiling that runs the full length of the car, new wall-mounted hand-holds as well as more seat-back to ceiling poles and 40 percent more linear feet of handrails in the 6000 series cars.
These six new rail cars are the first of a $378 million contract to provide 184 rail cars from the Alstom Transportation Inc. The car bodies are manufactured in Barcelona, Spain, and the final assembly of the railcars takes place in Hornell, NY.
“As one of the most advanced metro cars in North America, these 6000 series vehicles will provide millions of miles of safe operation and comfort for the Washington Metro and its passengers,” commented Roelof van Ark, President of ALSTOM Transportation’s NAFTA region. “We’ve worked hard to get a steady flow of deliveries to Washington, and it is gratifying to see how well the cars are received as they enter service.”
– Special to Railfanning.org News Wire