The US Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA or Metro) has issued a request for proposals (RfP) for the design and construction of at least 256 8000-series railcars.
They will replace the old 2000 and 3000 series vehicles, which are set to retire after their 40-year operational life.
The potential contract will include the option to procure up to 800 cars to provide the agency with additional flexibility in operations.
Alongside increasing the frequency of operations, the acquisition of new cars will enable WMATA to run trains with eight-car length, as well as retire the 6000-series fleet.
The initiative follows WMATA’s successful acquisition of 7000-series fleet, scheduled to be completed within the next year.
Equipped with digital information screens, automated announcement service and ‘smart doors’, the 7000-series railcars now make up nearly half of WMATA trains.
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They also feature high-definition security cameras, spacious seats and wider aisles to facilitate movement.
WMATA general manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld said: “Today, Metro is beginning the multi-year process of acquiring our next railcar fleet, which will take everything our customers love about 7000-series trains and build upon that success.
“I would take this opportunity to again thank our local jurisdictions-Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia-for creating a dedicated capital funding source for Metro that has made this possible.”
Apart from incorporating the latest features available in 7000-series fleet, the new 8000-series vehicles will support remote PA announcements from the Rail Operations Control Center and will include digital system maps instead of paper maps.
Furthermore, they will feature 110V charging outlets with additional improvements to lighting, floor markings, and signage.
Proposals for the 8000-series are due in January, while the contract is expected to be awarded late next year.