The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is to decommission the whole fleet of 1000 and 4000 series railcars in the US from passenger service starting 1 July, ahead of original schedule. 

The transit service accelerated retirement under its Back2Good programme, which has introduced the new 7000-series railcars to replace the old fleet.

The introduction of the 7000-series railcars is expected to improve services with less number of offloads and delays.

WMATA noted that the 7000-series cars have travelled more than 176,000 miles between delays in April, compared with the 4000-series cars, which operated an average of 27,259 miles between delays in the last year.

WMATA general manager Paul Wiedefeld said: “By retiring the last of our oldest and least reliable railcars, we will be in a much better position to deliver more reliable service for our customers.

“We have already seen the positive results of this effort in the form of fewer railcar-related delays and fewer offloads.”

The National Transportation Safety Board also recommended replacing the 1000-series with safer 7000-series cars. 

WMATA started decommissioning problematic railcars from last year. 

The initiative has decreased the number of offloads from an average of 120 a month during 2016 to 62 offloads in last April. In addition, the service is witnessing fewer delays, which are generally caused due to railcar mechanical issues.

Currently, WMATA has a fleet of 43 new trains in passenger service and it is receiving up to 20 new cars every month. It has purchased 748 new railcars in total. 

Some of the decommissioned 4000-series railcars will be used in emergency response agencies in the region for training purposes, while a pair of Metro's original railcars, numbered 1000 and 1001, will be renovated and preserved for historical purposes.