News & Politics

You Can Now Tour Metro’s Upcoming 8000 Series Trains on the Mall

WMATA’s “Fleet of the Future” exhibit is open through April 3. New trains!

Photograph by Arya Hodjat.

In a billowing white tent on the edge of the National Mall, you can see your next Metro train coming—it’s just not in motion yet.

WMATA opened its Fleet of the Future exhibit on Wednesday, allowing the public to tour a mock-up of its upcoming line of trains, dubbed the 8000 series, until April 3.

The trains won’t be in the testing stage until the winter of 2026 or early 2027, with the first passenger trains set to be rolled out for public use a year later, WMATA general manager Randy Clarke told reporters at a preview event Tuesday. 

But the 8000 series will look quite different from the trains already in stations. For one, there are fewer seats in the cars, giving way to designated spaces for wheelchair, bicycle and stroller users.

“If you’re getting out from a Nats game, you’re not looking for a seat, you’re just looking to get on the train,” Clarke said. “But if you’re coming from Vienna or Shady Grove at the end of a long work day, you’re probably not gonna have a problem getting one … so we’re trying to make the system work for everybody, and I think we’ve got a nice balance here of mix and match.”

And, Clarke said, crowding would be alleviated by the new open gangways on the 8000 series trains; instead of cars being separated by doors, the train cars are now essentially fused, two at a time.

Clarke said the new trains would bring WMATA in line with international train systems, such as those he’d toured in Hong Kong or Paris, which already have open gangways.

“People crowd on trains, and if we can spread them out faster, you board faster,” Clarke said. “You also have a better line of sight—one police officer can now look down and see the length of two trains.”

In addition to increased visibility, the 8000 series trains will also have more security cameras to help ensure rider safety, as well as emergency lights on the floors in case of a blackout, WMATA chief mechanical officer Shushil Ramnaress said Tuesday. 

Ramnaress said the trains would have increased digital signage, including by the doors, providing live station information, as well as heated flooring.

While WMATA’s budget deficit has made headlines this past year, Clarke said that the money for the 8000 series trains came out of Metro’s capital budget—used for improving the infrastructure of the system—whereas the deficit exists in the operating budget, used to cover day-to-day expenses. 

“If we don’t ever move forward on doing big procurements … it would be like being in your house and you have a 40 year old fridge,” Clarke said. “Eventually, you have to do the capital upgrades to have a good, safe, frequent system.”

A model electric bus, which is already in limited use on the W4 route from Anacostia to Deanwood, is also available for tour—parked behind the tent.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated one of the destinations of the W4 route. It is Deanwood, not Derwood.

Arya Hodjat
Editorial Fellow