Kawasaki Rail Car to build new Metrorail cars

WASHINGTON — Metro’s Board of Directors approved a contract to have Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. manufacture 428 new generation Metrorail cars known as the Series 7000 cars at a cost of $886 million. The cars will address Metro’s number one safety priority to replace its oldest rail cars (Series 1000).

Of the 428 cars, 128 of the cars will enable the expansion of Metro service on the Dulles rail corridor and 300 of the cars will be used to replace Metro’s oldest rail cars (Series 1000), which will improve safety and reliability of Metro’s fleet. The Dulles rail cars will be funded by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

“Today’s award is significant because it allows us to follow through on a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation, and to address our top safety priority – retirement of the original Series 1000 rail cars, which are more than 30 years old,” said Metro Interim General Manager Richard Sarles. “The new rail cars will also enable us to expand the Metrorail system on the new Dulles line.”

The Series 7000 rail cars are equipped with new improved crash energy management systems. The cars will be in a “quad-unit configuration,” a change from the current two-car configuration. A “quad-unit configuration” means that four railcars will be connected, allowing the accommodation of 40 more passengers per 8-car train than an older model railcar grouping because of fewer operator compartments.

The Series 7000 rail cars will usher in a new design and customer service amenities for Metro. There will be added leg room. Each rail car will have 64 padded seats with seat-back grab handles. Passengers will also be able to hold onto overhead bars and spring loaded handles.

A dynamic LCD route map in each car will allow customers to easily track train locations and station names, as will an automated announcement system. Resilient flooring will be used instead of carpeting. The new rail cars will also be equipped with cameras.

“Metro remains dedicated to providing the best service, equipment and facilities possible for our customers,” said Metro Board Chairman Peter Benjamin. “Today’s action will allow us to move forward with a critical item which will enhance safety and help bring our system nearer to a state of good repair.”

The delivery schedule calls for the cars to start arriving on Metro property in 2013, and undergo a rigorous, months-long inspection process. All 428 cars are scheduled to go into service by 2016.

The rail car manufacturer selection process was done through a competitively negotiated procurement involving seven different vendors. Through this process, vendors were evaluated for technical adequacy, delivery schedule credibility, management approach, past performance and price. Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., was selected based on having the best overall technical proposal, as well as the lowest cost.

Kawasaki Rail Car will manufacture the new rail cars in Lincoln, Neb.