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WMATA Awards Contract for 7000-Series Railcars

Followers of the Metro Cincinnati project might be interested to know that the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority has awarded Kawasaki the contract to build 428 new railcars, which will be known as the 7000-Series:

Last night, Metro awarded a contract to Kawasaki, to manufacture the new 7000 series rail cars, which will replace the 1000 series cars, fulfilling Metro’s top safety priority.

Metro received a formal pre-award approval letter yesterday, July 26, from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the procurement of the new generation rail cars using Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) funds.

The WMATA has published the drawings (PDF) and technical specifications (PDF) of the 7000-Series railcars on their website, and that information was used as the basis for the rolling stock on the Metro Cincinnati project, with a few cosmetic changes:

While most of the recent proposals for Cincinnati have focused on light rail, the Metro Cincinnati project has favored the heavy rail rolling stock shown here. Future articles will explore the differences between the two modes, and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Aesthetically, the 7000-Series is a departure from the usual look of Washington Metro subway cars, which have been remarkably consistent over the years. Gone are the exterior brown window stripe and earth-toned interior; the new cars have more of a resemblance to the rolling stock that Kawasaki has recently built for the New York City subway, notably the R143 and R160B series cars, than previous generations of Metro cars.

Here are a few renderings of the 7000-Series cars, from the WMATA procurement documents: