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Feds tout new DC Metro train cars

Feds tout new DC Metro train cars
© Getty Images

The Obama administration is touting new train cars that are scheduled to debut on the Washington, D.C., Metrorail subway system on Tuesday. 

Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez said the new train cars, which have been dubbed the 7000 series, will boost safety on the capital region’s Metro system, which is the second busiest transit network in the U.S. 

“Safety is our number one priority, and WMATA’s 7000-series rail cars are specifically designed to move hundreds of thousands of daily riders as safely as possible as they travel to work, school, doctor’s appointments and other destinations,” Mendez said in a statement after he took a test ride on the first 7000 series train on Monday. 

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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the Metrorail system, has touted the 7000 series trains as the largest technological advance in its nearly 40-year history. 

The agency has been under pressure to replace the oldest cars on its subway system, which have been in use since the 1970s and were blamed for a fatal crash in 2009 that killed nine passengers. 

Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan said the new trains would eventually allow Metro to retire the older subway cars that were at fault in the 2009 crash. 

“The time has arrived to retire the oldest, 1000-series rail cars in the Metrorail fleet and replace them with a new generation of safer vehicles,” McMillan said. 

Metro officials have said that they have ordered 528 of the new 7000 series train cars, and they are seeking funding to purchase another 220 later this year. 

Metro Interim General Manager Jack Requa has said the agency is eagerly awaiting the launch of the 7000 series trains. 

“The 7000-series is an entirely new generation of railcars at Metro – a fleet that is, by design, revolutionary as opposed to evolutionary,” Requa said in a statement. “The cars were built to maximize safety while providing enhanced rider comfort and reliability. We are excited to welcome riders aboard their new trains.”