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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is giving the public a sneak peek at its all-digital, world-class new railcars and zero-emissions buses at the National Mall beginning March 20.

The multi-week event is the first time WMATA 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.

WMATA’s GM/CEO Randy Clarke called 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.”

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WMATA’s Next-Gen Railcars

The 82-feet long and 10-feet wide railcar 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 trains feature the agency’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.

They 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.

Hitachi Rail will assemble the 8000-series trains in Hagerstown, Md., with additional options of up to 800 total cars. WMATA's goal is to replace its oldest trains, the 2000- and 3000-series from the 1980s, to create a more reliable fleet.

New 60-Foot New Flyer BEBs

WMATA’s new 60-foot New Flyer battery-electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions, which means improved air quality. They’re also 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.

“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.”

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Bringing Back the Old School

The Fleet of the Future exhibit is a throwback to WMATA’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.

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