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Their stainless steel bodies shining new, their insides wafting with that new-car smell, the first four of Metro's new railcars were unveiled at the Greenbelt station on Monday.
Flanked by mostly Democratic politicians and appointed officials from D.C. and Maryland, Metro general manager Richard Sarles touted the arrival of the 7000-series.
"These cars are replacing 40-year-old rail cars that are unreliable and cause delays today," Sarles says. "So instead of matching the old design, we decided to make a clean break and create a car with the future of Metro in mind."
Built by American hands at Kawasaki plant in Lincoln, Neb., Metro will test the new rail cars for several months before they carry their first passengers by the end of the year.
"In the coming months we will fine tune the design and functionality before more than 500 cars that are made in America by Kawasaki start rolling off the line," Sarles says.
Metro has 528 7000-series cars on order at a cost of $1 billion. They will replace all 300 of the old, 1000-series cars and in the process fulfill an outstanding federal safety recommendation stemming from the deadly 2009 Red Line crash, which involved the 1000-series. The new cars will also handle new ridership on the Silver Line.
Metro's goal is to have half its fleet made up of 7000-series cars in five years.