Metro Invites Public to See Its New Trains and Buses at ‘Fleet of the Future’ Expo

Courtesy WMATA

Metro is giving the public a sneak peek at its all-digital, world-class new railcars and zero-emissions buses from March 20 through April 3.

The Fleet of the Future Expo will be prominently displayed on the National Mall at 12th Street and Madison Drive NW near the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and National Museum of Natural History. It’s the first time Metro has hosted the public to see a mock-up of its newest trains on the National Mall since the first 1000-series train cars in 1968.

Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke calls it a historic and generational opportunity. “Unveiling the Fleet of the Future marks a major step for Metro,” Clarke said. “We took best practices from all over the world – open gangways, more space, better digital screens for real-time information, enhanced video systems to improve safety, a more sustainable aluminum shell, and eye-catching design – and put them in this train. We are proud of all the improvements we were able to pack into this new fleet and welcome everyone to come out and see the future of America’s transit system.”

The Expo on the National Mall will be open daily from 9 am to 5pm. More info below, courtesy of WMATA:

mapThose interested in attending can use the Smithsonian stop on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines, take the 12th and Jefferson streets exit, and take a left at the top of the escalator. L’Enfant Plaza with the Green and Yellow Lines and Metro Center with the Red Line are also within blocks. Nearby bus routes include Metrobus 3F, 33, 52, 59, 63, 64, 70, 79, S2, and the DC Circulator National Mall route.

train moving The 82-feet long and 10-feet wide mock-up is not a full-size replica of the two connected open gangway cars, but rather features portions of each to give customers an idea of what the trains will feel like. The prototype will have key differences from the final manufactured product. It has manual doors, no heated floors, stickers will be used in some places instead of digital displays, the lighting will be different, and the seats will be molded instead of fabric. 

interiorThe Expo should be fun for all ages and a convenient stop if you’re heading to see the cherry blossoms. You can also take pictures in a train-themed photobooth and with our Baby Bus mascot-themed photo cutout. Visitors can view rare, historic photos of old train and bus fleets and take a Metro history quiz.

Guests can tour the railcar and a new 60-foot electric buses, learn more about the design, and provide feedback during the event.

new electric bus Metro’s new battery-electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions, which means improved air quality. They’re also much quieter and have a smoother ride with less vibration since electric buses don’t have an internal combustion engine. Improved customer amenities include digital passenger information screens, USB charging ports, and new fare boxes.

bus interior“Two of these buses have entered service on and customers have given us an overwhelmingly positive response,” Clarke said. “More electric buses are on the way later this year, and we wanted to give our community a chance to check out these incredibly quiet and environmentally friendly vehicles at the Fleet of the Future Expo.”

The trains feature Metro’s first open passageway design for moving between two cars, increasing safety, passenger flow, and capacity. Eight-car trains will be made up of four sets of two-car pairs and six-car trains will be made up of three sets of two-car pairs. 

train renderingThey also feature more seating along the walls to allow more standing room for passengers and dedicated spaces for people who use mobility devices. The trains will also have more flexible space for bikes, strollers, and luggage. 

Technology is improved with larger and more visible digital information screens and more energy-efficient radiant heated floors. 

train interiorHitachi Rail will assemble the 8000-series trains in Hagerstown, Maryland, with additional options of up to 800 total cars. The goal is to replace our oldest trains, the 2000- and 3000-series from the 1980s, to create a more reliable fleet.

The Fleet of the Future exhibit is a throwback to Metro’s history. 

In 1968, a prototype train was built and displayed across the region including on the White House lawn, where President Lyndon B. Johnson toured the 1000-series train. Future riders also saw the mocked-up train on the National Mall and at regional malls like Prince George’s Plaza and L’Enfant Plaza.

LBJ on Metro trainMetro’s Fleet of the Future Expo

What: Metro’s new Fleet of the Future train mock-up and new 60-foot electric bus

When: March 20 – April 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Where: The National Mall near 12th Street and Madison Drive NW

Why: To tour the new train and electric bus, give feedback on the design of train

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