Now these oughta make a helluva bar one day.
“Metro has selected Hitachi Rail Washington LLC (“Hitachi Rail”) to build the system’s 8000-series railcars in the U.S. The contract, valued up to an estimated $2.2 billion, includes a base order of 256 railcars, with options to build up to 800 in the fleet. The project is expected to create direct and indirect jobs in the region.
“We are excited about this critical investment in safe and reliable railcars and service for Metro customers, made possible through the region’s dedicated funding commitment,” said Board of Directors Chair Paul C. Smedberg. “The capital investments we are making in our transit system also support our businesses, our environment, and our quality of life in the national capital region.”
Metro’s 8000-series railcars will improve upon the design and features of the new fleet of 7000-series cars, the most reliable in Metro’s history. The base order which includes state-of-the-art safety technology and mechanical design will replace Metro’s aging 2000- and 3000-series railcars, which have been in service since the early 1980s, and were designed to be “backward compatible” with Metro’s 1970s era design.
“The 8000-series railcars will modernize the Metro fleet with Hitachi building on the success of the newest 7000-series cars to provide reliable, comfortable and safe transportation for our region and contribute to the local economy,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “The new railcars will take everything customers love about the 7000-series and incorporate the latest technology and features that will serve hundreds of millions of passengers over the cars’ 40-year lifespan.”
REINVESTMENT IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
The 8000-series railcars are funded using new dedicated revenue streams established by the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. In recognition of the region’s commitment to Metro’s long-term future, Metro structured the procurement process to encourage reinvestment of local tax dollars in the regional economy. Hitachi is exploring sites in the region with plans to add an assembly plant for the 8000-series railcars that will result in direct and indirect local jobs, and return Metro’s investment to the local economy.
“Today, it is our privilege to help one of the nation’s premier transit agencies future-proof its fleet,” said Andrew Barr, Chief Executive Officer, Hitachi Rail Group. “For Hitachi Rail, our company’s business growth translates to direct and indirect U.S. jobs. Further capital investments in assembly and manufacturing in the region will supply the growing U.S. rail market to meet increasing demand. We also believe that our downstream supply chain offers considerable opportunities for the participation of diverse business enterprises. We value diversity in the workplace and the marketplace.”
While there are no U.S. manufacturers of passenger rail cars, Metro included aggressive goals in its request for proposal to ensure investment in local vendors.
THE 8000-SERIES EXPERIENCE
The 8000-series will further improve customers’ on-board experience with more digital screens and real-time information, dynamic maps, electrical outlets for charging personal devices, and additional hand-holds throughout the interior.
In addition, the new railcars build on Metro and Hitachi’s shared commitment to sustainability. The cars are designed to be lighter, safer and more energy-efficient with improved regenerative braking technology, ventilation system improvements, high-definition cameras and stringent cybersecurity requirements to enhance security.
Hitachi Rail was selected through a competitive procurement process. Hitachi Rail’s current operating footprint in the U.S. includes East and West Coast railcar assembly plants as well as a manufacturing plant dedicated to signaling solutions in the Carolinas. Hitachi is currently building railcars for transit systems in Baltimore, Honolulu and Miami.”