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The 7000-series cars are generations ahead of Metro’s current fleet. Its oldest cars, in the 1000 series, went into service in the mid-1970s. Unlike previous railcars that can be mixed and matched within a single train, the newest cars will only operate with other 7000-series cars, likely in eight-car trains.
“These cars are replacing 40-year-old railcars that are unreliable and cause delays today,” Sarles said, adding, “So, instead of matching the old design, we decided to make a clean break and create a car with a future Metro in mind.”
The last 1000-series car is probably within three years of retirement, he said. By 2018, more than half of the cars rolling through the Metro region should be 7000 series.
During the next few months, those stuck waiting on delayed trains or ordered to disembark because of a broken door or mechanical issue might be tempted to criticize the slow rollout. Metro currently has 528 new trains on order and hopes to order more soon, Sarles said. “We’re replacing them as fast as technology and manufacturing allows us to do.”