HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Though Metro's 7000-series trains aren't expected to be back in service until at least April following an October derailment, the transit agency is moving forward with building the next installment of cars.
Hitachi Rail announced Monday that they plan to build a $70 million factory in Washington County, Maryland in order to produce the new 8000-series Metro trains. The 307,000-square-foot facility will be built on Greencastle Pike in Hagerstown.
Hitachi Rails has a $2.2 billion contract with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to build the 8000-series railcars, according to a statement from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office.
The new trains are anticipated to include new features. The 256 new cars will have additional options of up to 800 in the fleet. Hitachi Rails said in a statement that the base order of the new cars will “increase reliability, offer modern onboard technology and an improved passenger experience.”
The new 8000-series Metro trains will have:
- Digital screens
- Onboard Wifi
- HD security cameras
- Improved ventilation systems
- Strict cybersecurity requirements
- Wider aisles and more space between seats
- Heated floors
- Improved regenerative braking
The new trains will also be electric, according to Hitachi Rails. Each car will have 130 seats per pair of cars and Hitachi Rail said in a statement that the new trains “will be a major upgrade when they replace the 2000- and 3000-series, which have been in service since the early 1980s.”
Maryland officials say, this project will create 460 new full-time jobs and will “help sustain 1,300 jobs in the region.”
Preparing the land for construction of the factory is the next step in the process and is anticipated to be completed by the fall. Following this, construction of the factory will begin and is anticipated to be operational by the winter of 2023/2024, according to Hitachi Rails.