Judging the new 7000 series metro trains (reader request)

by Prince Of Petworth July 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm 51 Comments

Rendering via WMATA

From WMATA’s Web site:

With input from customers, we’re advancing the design of a brand new fleet of rail cars called the 7000 Series.

Customers told us they liked a blue and grey color scheme, and provided feedback on materials and features, including:

A stainless steel exterior
Vinyl padded seats and seat-back grab handles
Added handholds in the door area and vertical poles at each seat – for a total of 25% more linear feet of bars more than in the most recently built cars.
Nonslip flooring instead of carpet
Larger aisles and better designation of priority seating areas
Improved LED lighting
Privacy screens in the vestibule areas
Dynamic LCD route maps to allow customers to easily track train locations and station names
High-tech automated public address systems and closed circuit cameras for added safety and security.

Like the new look?

Rendering via WMATA

  • caballero

    Where are the fat people gonna sit? Not that I really care….I’m just wondering.

    • anonymous

      exactly. wondering how those seats are going to hold the 400-pounders.

      • ah

        They’ll take two, you know.

    • So, Just Sayin’

      (1) Where are the effing seats?

      (2) Why are the effing seats we see all bench seats rather than buckets (what I call the bench with the dips for folks’ butts)? When you have bench seats, rude people sit with wide stances and don’t edge over enough to accommodate more people. When you have buckets, and there’s an empty bucket, you have a right to put your butt in said bucket.

      It’s not the fat people I’m worried about — it’s the rude SOBs who splay their legs open and/or don’t want to edge over closer other passengers.

    • KR

      Yeah, talk about Tourist-Unfriendly!

  • elcal

    where’s ANYONE gonna sit?

  • victoria

    More room to dance!

    • ro


  • Native American JD in DC

    No. It still incorporates bench, rather than transverse, seating. #Metrofailcontinues

    • rooty tooty

      realtime LCD signs are pretty awesome.

      while I would have also preferred transverse, the suburban users don’t really want to stand all the way from vienna, new carrolton, etc. i defer to greatergreaterwashington.org on such issues.

      long story short is that DC metro is an odd beast in that it has to serve both the inner city and the far flung burbs – each of whose riders have competing, and often diametrically opposed interests.

      • JT

        Metro can’t keep its doors, escalators or automatic train operation up and running properly. In this environment what makes anyone think an LED screen is a good idea? In 10 years the screens will be broken and dark, and we’ll be wondering why anyone thought LED screens on Metro was a good idea. It’s the same thing we talk about now — why didn’t Metro incorporate cheap, low-maintenance stairs in its design.

        • elcal

          Or how about maps that are large enough for tourists to read and placed in appropriate locations so they don’t lean all up in your grill when trying to figure out what stop to get off at.

        • LEDs have a long history and long lives; LCD panels have been on trains (and desks) elsewhere for many years, so I’m not sure how they’re set up for failure.

          Transverse seating = perpendicular to the train’s motion, like most seats on Metro. Longitudinal = parallel to motion, like the seats by Metro doors.

      • truth

        you are so right…but how to you please both ‘burbians and city dwellers?

  • andy(2)

    I think they should look like the London tube cars – benches along the side and plenty of standing room in the aisles. That arrangement would make loading easy and accommodates the every growing girth of 21st century Americans.
    My one question is what impact on service will happen when one 7000 train car goes out of service on a few trains (since they aren’t compatible with other series cars)?

    • greeny whore

      Yeah – what’s wrong with bench seating along both sides?

      • erin

        It cuts the number of possible seats in half.

        • quincycyclist

          Actually it’s only a difference of 10 seats between two cars. So two of the new cars can seat 132 people with the seating the way it is now, or 122 people with bench seating.

      • Anon

        http://wtop.com/?nid=30&sid=1356100 people in washington do not like looking at one another.

    • Anonymous



      I wish we had these seats that fold up when the car is crowded like Paris… not that most rude SOBs would fold their seat up anyway here though.

  • Analnymous

    Well the first rendering looks a lot better and different from the “real life mock up”. What happened to the transparent screens and “floating/hanging” chairs between the concept and the mock up.

    And yes, the metro systems that have seating along the sides of the cars (a la London) always seem most efficient to me. Too late for that now though, the concepts won’t change to that at this point.

    • ah

      Plywood isn’t transparent.

  • Anonymous

    Those photos are misleading. There are actually a few more seats in the planned interiors.

  • Ed

    As long as they insist on making all the open space right where the doors are, they can forget about people moving into the interiors of the cars. I don’t understand why they don’t understand this. Nature abhors a vacuum; people will gravitate toward the place where there is more space. The middle of the cars — the spaces between the doors — should have inward-facing bench seating (a la New York), or, at the least, designated standing space. This will draw people away from the door areas, which is supposedly something Metro desires given the “please move to the center of the car”* announcements every time the doors open. But apparently they don’t care that much, because every redesign features more and more empty space near the doors.

    * And that doesn’t make any sense, either — there are doors at the center of the cars. What it should say is move between the doors.

    • JMC

      Seats by the door stink because it creates that narrow corridor to get in and out of the car. Wide open near the doors is best for getting people on and off quickly. People gang up near the doors whether its open space or not.

  • Matt

    Website says they are due to arrive in 2013, so I guess the new trains are stuck at the New York Ave Metro as we speak.

    • JMC


    • MishiL


  • mdp

    The seats really need to be changed to benches. This is not just a commuter rail, it services a dense city and the standing room is inadequate.

  • mdp

    Also, there should be huge signs and a robot voice yelling: HEY IDIOT, WHEN THE DOORS OPEN DON’T STAND IN FRONT OF THEM. And maybe a different robot voice can say: MORON, TONS OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GET OFF AT EACH STOP, YOU DO NOT NEED TO FORCE YOUR WAY TO THE DOOR 5 MINUTES AHEAD OF TIME.

    • pdc

      Yeah my number one pet peeve is people getting up before the train stops. Either the car isn’t crowded and there is ample time to ask me to stand up if i’m in the inside seat and leave, before the doors even open – or it is too crowded to move and you still have to wait until the car stops anyways. That person ALWAYS wants to get up right at max inertia from the train stopping. Transverse seats!

      • lou

        as someone who was once stuck on the train for an extra stop because I couldn’t get out because the person in the outdoor seat wouldn’t get up until the train stopped and then lots of people blocked my way, all I can say is, gee, thanks for your self righteousness.

  • InTheGaP

    My dream is that the signs in the trains will tell me what stop I’m at. I’m usually reading and don’t hear (or can’t understand) the announcement. When I feel the stop, I look up, and see the sign: GREEN. Really? Thanks. Then I frantically start looking outside the train hoping it won’t be too dark in the station to see a platform sign, or I won’t be in between wall signs. Then the door closes, and I realize I’m on my way to Ft. Totten, which is almost 30 minutes away. Seems like the #1 thing you want to know in a station is what station you are at. I like prepositions.

    • textdoc

      Usually I can figure out what stop I’m at pretty quickly, but I pity the tourists. Metro should have prerecorded announcements; many of the train drivers are difficult to understand or give the wrong station name. And even when they _are_ understandable, sometimes there’s too much static to hear it properly.

    • greeny whore

      Are there signs in your bathroom telling you when to wipe your butt too?

  • !?

    They need wider doors and more of them like metro systems in the rest of the world. Also it would be really great if they made cars that were fully connected so one can just walk the entire train. This would also make it safer because if you find yourself sitting near one of the creeps you can just walk all the way up to the front.

  • Matthew

    I am so excited that the new design does no include carpeting. There is not much worse than getting on a Metro car when its hot and nasty that smells like mold and damp and dirty carpet.

    • victoria

      + 1000 – whoever decided on carpet in metro cars should be “metro keelhauled” – dragged through an 8 car train on their belly along the nasty carpet.

  • Joe

    I think they should take design hints from Singapore’s MRT system. Bench seats along either side, plenty of bars for the strap hangers, and no separation between the cars so it’s easy to move about. See the picture here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:C830Interior.JPG

  • Smilla

    My biggest beef with this design: NOT ENOUGH HANDHOLDS. If you’re going to make more people stand, you have to give them something to hold on to.

    For those of us who are short or have shoulder problems, the bar along the ceiling is too high to reach comfortably on a moving train. If a train is so crowded that you can’t stand in the aisles (where you could hold on to a pole that runs from a seat back and up to the ceiling), and you’re stuck in the large space near the doors, what are you supposed to hold on to? Too many people lean against the L-shaped bar that runs along the door and across the map/advertising space next to the door.

    • lou

      Agreed. You’d think with all the complaints from us short people, they would have taken that into account. but no.

  • McSalterson

    Nonslip flooring instead of carpet… About time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stepped onto the carpet from the platform and my feet flew out from under me.

    Not digging the grey and blue. I think we need a few more tans and taupes. Perhaps some mustard yellow and burnt siennas.

    • Tan and Mustard Yellow?

      Eck! I’ll take clean blue and gray instead of 70’s chic anyday.

  • Pico

    Lots of misinformed comments here. Not surprising, considering WMATA’s awful PR department. The new train cars will actually have more seats than the 6000’s, and there are more vertical hand hold bars than before.

  • rjs

    As far as the handhold issue goes, if you’re a shorter daily rider, you might want to check out the Transtrap. It’s a personal handhold that slips over the horizontal ceiling bar. Apparently good for germaphobes, too.


    • Joe

      Might have to look into getting one of those. Of course, that’s another thing I liked about the Singapore MRT, it’s designed around an average height of ~5’6″, so I had no trouble getting a handhold.

  • grumpy

    In both pictures, it looks like they’ve gotten rid of the overhead bar that runs down the middle of the car? I realize that not everyone can reach those bars, but it helps those of us who are tall enough to reach them to get out of the way of those people who need the lower handholds and not have to jostle around in competition with them for something to hold onto. Same goes for the bar in the middle of the top of the car closest to the doors – what are people supposed to hold on to other than the handful of vertical bars? It doesn’t matter to me that there are “25% more feet of linear bars” per train if there is not a bar for me to hold onto once I get on the train.

    As for seat configuration, I recall riding a green line train in Boston that had bench seats on one side of the car and front/back-facing seats on the other half – why hasn’t Metro explored this compromise? Or else, +1 to the fold-up seats mentioned in Paris, I had forgotten about those!

  • John M

    Considering what Metro has to work with (aging system, fickle suburban riders, etc.), I quite like the 7000’s – granted they’re not perfect.

    I really like what they did, especially aesthetically, to the cars compared to the original designs.

    What I would like to see is:
    -Articulated Cars
    -Wider/More doors
    -Bench seating
    -Better grips for standees


Subscribe to our mailing list