News & Politics

Metro’s Oldest Rail Cars Are Finally Being Retired

The oldest cars in Metro’s fleet are finally being taken off the rails after four decades of service. The 1000-series cars, as the 1970s-vintage rolling stock is known, started being decommissioned earlier this spring as Metro deploys more of its newest cars, the 7000-series that first entered service in April 2015. In a video released by the transit agency Tuesday, you can watch one of the old junkers come off the tracks and be hauled off toward its final resting place, a scrap yard in Baltimore.

About 280 of the cars date back to Metro’s earliest days, and despite maintenance over the years, they became increasingly unreliable and dangerous. The car at the head of the Red Line train involved in the 2009 Fort Totten crash that killed eight passengers and a driver was a 1000-series. The 1000-series cars lack “crash energy management design,” which subsequent models have to help avoid being crushed in the event of a crash.

Metro has ordered 748 of the 7000-series cars, which are so advanced they can only be linked with each other instead of any older cars. So far, 96—or eight trains—have been deployed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.