WMATA’s Rail Fleet
Washington DC

At a Glance

  • Client(s)
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA)
  • Work Performed By
  • LTK Washington
  • Project Contact
  • Ernie Chance, Senior Vice President
  • Project Description
  • Acquisition of 7000-series railcars – 748 cars in total
  • Project Duration
  • Since 2010
  • Project Cost
  • $1.5 billion including options

The Challenge

Creating the “perfect railcar.” 

WMATA needed to acquire new railcars because of the Metrorail Silver Line Phase I expansion through Tysons Corner to Reston, VA, and the Phase II expansion to Washington Dulles International Airport. In addition, WMATA needed to urgently replace aging earlier series railcars, many of which have been in revenue service for more than 40 years. Much of the older railcar fleet would be incompatible with technology and safety advances of the new 7000-series cars, dictating that longstanding interoperability standards be redeveloped as part of the procurement. With new railcars, WMATA faced the challenge of introducing new technologies to WMATA Engineering, Transit Operations, and Maintenance staff.

Our Continued Commitment

This was the seventh railcar procurement for WMATA supported by LTK – an engagement that spans more than 40 years. Our specialized knowledge of the Metrorail operating environment, performance requirements and maintenance practices is unparalleled. LTK also established and shared on-site offices with WMATA Project and Engineering personnel to solidify the Partnering Charter for the 7000-series railcar program and ensure seamless integration of the two staffs.

The Solutions

 LTK’s role is to provide technical expertise from conception through revenue service deployment, continuing to on-going maintenance and planned overhauls. The program employs a unique Design Verification Review (DVR) process that incorporates parallel manufacturing and testing activities and spans traditional design review phases. The result is simultaneous and continuous design evolution that leads to an improved and more flexible design implementation process.

According to an APTA White Paper, “WMATA’s 7000-Series Car – The Leap Forward” (June 2013), the goal of the 7000-series project is to develop a “perfect railcar”: The paper notes:

“The technical development process and available technologies have been evaluated and applied without constraints imposed by existing WMATA car designs… First, the design development process included innovative and rigorous requirements for up-front testing, hard mock-up, and design verification. Second, the structural design of the car includes crash energy management features, which were subject to a full-scale crash test of the crush zone. Finally, the electrical technology includes advanced networking design, train-to-wayside interfaces, and passenger amenities.”


The Results

The 7000-series cars are the most technologically-advanced ever operated at Metrorail with new design innovations that include an Ethernet network, roof-mounted HVAC units, advanced maintenance diagnostics, linear door operators, and a customer-friendly passenger information system.

As a testament to the effectiveness of the design process, the 7000-series pilot prototype railcars were delivered on time and fully met the required specifications. After extensive testing and pre-revenue operation (as well as extensive maintenance training and support), the first 7000-series cars entered revenue operation in April 2015 to much public acclaim. The base order of the new cars is currently in service on the Red, Orange, Blue and Green lines. The second order of 7000-series cars is currently in production and will be joining the Metrorail fleet through 2019.


Did You Know?

  • The final design of the 7000-series railcars reflects comprehensive input from employees, customers, and rider advocates.
  • When the 7000-series fleet is fully deployed, it will make up almost 60% of WMATA’s railcar fleet.
  • Stainless steel is the carbody material of choice for the 7000-series fleet, replacing the longstanding use of aluminum on the first six Metrorail fleet acquisitions.
  • The 7000-series railcars are manufactured in the USA.

LTK Capabilities Used on This Project