On Monday, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) awarded a contract to Kawasaki to manufacture the new 7000 series railcars, which will replace the 1000 series cars, fulfilling Metro’s top safety priority.
Metro received a formal pre-award approval letter on Monday from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the procurement of the new generation railcars using Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) funds.
The FTA’s pre-award authority for the PRIIA funds totals $150 million for this year, which will be matched by another $150 million by the jurisdictions. Of those funds, $80 million will be used for a milestone payment for the 7000 series cars, which is due this year.
The procurement of the new railcars complies with a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation to replace the oldest cars in Metro’s fleet.
Of the 428 new cars, 128 of them will enable the expansion of Metro service on the Dulles rail corridor and 300 of the cars will be used to replace the 1000 series cars. The new cars are equipped with advanced crash worthiness systems.
Metro has conducted a top-to-bottom overhaul of its safety program and taken dozens of actions to build a strong safety culture at the transit agency and improve safety, including implementing NTSB recommendations in advance of the July 27 NTSB Board meeting on the June 22, 2009 train collision at Fort Totten.
Over the last year, Metro has taken proactive steps to replace and improve its equipment; make changes to its train control system; upgrade its infrastructure; expand safety training; rebuild its safety department and make extensive changes internally to change the Metro safety culture.