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October 09, 2006

WMATA 6000 Series Rail Cars Reviewed

While I reported earlier on the new 6000 series WMATA rail cars, it was only this past weekend that I was able to actually ride on one in the Metro, who started running them last week. Headed home along the Green Line, I stepping into Rail Car 6027 and immediately noticed the difference from earlier rail car versions.

What I noticed most as the train progressed is what I didn't hear: track noise. The 6000 series rail cars were whisper quiet. The noise I did hear came from other cars on the train, not the new one.

While that may not be true after 6037 has a few thousand miles on it, the change for now is quite remarkable.

As advertised, the new cars are much roomier around the entrances. The windscreens around the doors are reduced in number and size.

They only block one side of the opening and they do not have glass, opening the visual space at the doorway and hopefully reducing the door cloggers found on too many other rail cars.

Once inside, you'll notice that there are more, but less obtrusive handholds. Instead of a central bar with metal columns in the middle of the isle, there are now two bars running down the length of the car roof with side columns. This too should reduce isle cloggers and make egress easier.

There are also bars along the walls around the entrances, around the advertisements and around Metro maps. While I applaud this change I am concerned that the metal bars do not fully connect with the wall at one of their ends.

This could lead to purse and backpack straps slipping behind the rail, restraining a rider from exiting the train car quickly.

At least the floor light got a makeover. Now at each doorway are very bright LED lights, both brighter than earlier floor lights, and yet more efficient and longer lasting.

Their bright white light is trained on the rail car - station platform transom, hopefully making it easier to see and transverse for all. Or at least easier to spot fall footwear fashion.

Some seats do not have arm rests, a welcome change that should make different riders happy. Those gravitationally challenged may find the seats more accommodating of their girth.

I will welcome the chance to lie down when coming home late from my nocturnal wanderings and on this train, three people on one seat, the third sitting perpendicular to his two friends, all enjoying the ride.

Metro is sure enjoying the ride. Interim ex-General Manager Dan Tangherlini says the workers love the trains. The Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock is on the fence. He should be on the train. The new 6000 series rail cars rock - all aboard!

Post Author: wayan | 10:40 PM | Link | TrackBacks

When the Boston subway got some new cars, they were also rather quiet. I was told by a transit fan the big difference was that the wheels hadn't gotten some flat spots from doing a bunch of hard/emergency stops--but they will with time.

Posted by: Sam at October 10, 2006 01:37 AM

Can't wait until they get on the Red Line. Thanks for the report!

Posted by: Ed at October 10, 2006 02:31 PM

Dr. Gridlock is a highway boy. I wouldn't trust his opinion on any transit issue any farther than I can throw him.

Posted by: BeyondDC at October 11, 2006 02:07 PM
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