USA: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has awarded Hitachi Rail a contract to supply the next generation of trains for the federal capital’s 165 km, six-route metro network.
WMATA had selected Hitachi in October 2020 as preferred bidder for up to 800 vehicles designated the 8000 series. The contract announced on March 17 includes a firm order for 256 vehicles with options for the remaining 544 which would take the total value of the package to $2·2bn. The first vehicles are due to be delivered from 2024.
The Series 8000 stock is intended to replace WMATA’s 2000 and 3000 series cars, which were manufactured by Hitachi Rail’s predecessor Breda in 1982 and 1987. Subsequently refurbished, these 366 vehicles remain active in the 1 292-car fleet. The later Breda 4000 series and CAF 5000 series cars supplied between 1991 and 2001 were replaced by 7000 series vehicles, of which 748 were delivered by Kawasaki Rail Car in 2015-20.
The additional options would provide sufficient vehicles for WMATA to operate all trains as eight-car sets and run more frequent services at peak times, while also enabling the withdrawal of the Alstom-built 6000 series stock in lieu of a mid-life refurbishment.
The 8000 series vehicles are expected to be lighter, safer and more energy-efficient than the vehicles they replace, offering improved regenerative braking and ventilation systems plus high-definition CCTV, while meeting stringent cybersecurity requirements. Digital displays and dynamic maps will provide real-time passenger information, and electrical charging sockets will be provided.
The vehicles are to be manufactured by Hitachi Rail Washington LLC at a new plant in the region, including both carbody fabrication and final assembly. Hitachi has an established presence in North America through the former Ansaldo STS signalling business, while the group has also supplied rolling stock for the Baltimore, Miami and Honolulu metros from assembly plants on the east and west coasts respectively.
‘Investing in the 8000 series railcars is an investment in safe, reliable transportation for Metro’s customers and an investment in the region we serve by contributing to the local economy’, said WMATA General Manager & CEO Paul Wiedefeld. ‘This is a win-win that supports the future of Metro, the local economy, and job creation throughout the National Capital Region.’
‘We are honoured to help Metro meet their mobility needs, providing innovative solutions to customers and improving the passenger experience’, said Hitachi Rail Group CEO Andy Barr. ‘The rapid growth of our business translates into direct and indirect US jobs, and further capital investments. The 8000 series award signals a major expansion of our US business.’