Metro 7000-series rail cars set to debut later this year

(WJLA) - The sound of the future is pulling into Shady Grove, as the 7000-series is setting a high bar as Metro’s newest rail car.

"The 7000-series right now has the composition of the best technology's the only the train car in the series that has all this technology in one train," said project manager Debo Ogunrinde.

The new look of the black front is sparking a lot of excitement as the train begins passing through stations. But despite some longing looks from the platform, the 7000-series isn’t taking passengers just yet – this one is only a{ } test train.

The focus on the Red Line on Wednesday is ride quality. The trains must be as smooth as current 6,000-series. The hope is that it will be even better and more reliable, thanks to an improved, more robust design along with redundant networked systems.

"The ultimate test is running out on the system to see how all the electronics deal with the system -- that's what we are going through now, and I'm getting good reports," said WMATA General Manager and CEO, Richard Sarles.

Passengers will be seeing a wider aisle, new seats, no more carpet on the floors, flat panel monitors, digital sign boards announcing upcoming stops, and improved lighting. Plus, there are major safety improvements stemming from the deadly 2009 Red Line crash – they include security cameras, replaceable technology similar to a bumper for low speed “fender-bender type collisions,” and the train version of crumple zones to better absorb the impact from a larger collision.

"We really want to surprise our customers with the comfort and reliability of the 7000-series cars," said Ogunrinde.

These four 7000-series cars are basically pre-production models. It’s an opportunity to test the design and make any tweaks they need to make before the actual production run begins.

Expect to see the 7000-series rail cars on the tracks later this year.