Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Metrorail Coolness

This is a big week for DC's Metrorail.

On Monday, they put all 8 car Red Line trains back under computer control. For decades, the DC system was notable for the trains being run by computer, rather than by humans. The crash in 2009, which killed 9 people, put an end to that. For the past six years all trains in the system have been run manually by their driver and, believe me, there was a learning curve.

Now, with repairs done on the Red Line, which I happen to ride, the 8 car trains are back under computer control, which means a much smoother, quicker ride. Hooray! The 6 car trains and other lines will take until 2017 to get back under computer control.

And in other news, the new 7000 series Metro cars went into service today, and I rode one! For the premier, Metro only ran a single 8 car train along the Blue Line. I usually transfer from the Red Line downtown and take the Yellow/Green to my work station. Today, I switched to the Blue/Orange/Silver line from the Red hoping to see the new train. The first train to arrive was an Orange Line, so I got on but kept my eyes open. As we pulled into my destination station, I was (way too) excited to see the new train pull in, going the other way. I ran across the platform, jumped in and rode a couple of stops back the way I came.

The new trains are much more technologically advanced than the dinosaur trains Metro has been running. They have many new displays to show where the train is and where it's going. They're also much safer in a crash and the doors are not death traps waiting to chop off a limb. To my huge relief, the high backed seats are really comfortable. The biggest surprise is that the door chimes are different and the voice announcing "Doors closing" and such is still a woman, but different. The whole experience had a more European feel to it. All in all, I'm pretty excited about the new cars which will roll out over the next few years.

So here are some pictures I took.

One of the new LCD screens.
Sorry, suspicious woman. I'm taking a photo
of the destination sign above your head.

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