New Metro Rail Cars Won't Debut ‘Til Next Year

Metro's shiny and sleek new railcars -- known as the 7000 series rail cars -- were supposed to start carrying passengers by the end of this year. But the transit agency is changing that date.

"It looks like it is going to be the very beginning of next year," Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said at a board meeting Thursday. "It's a month or two different from what I said before."

News4 was able to take a ride on the new rail cars back in May, checking out the new features like LED displays and new seats. And there's no carpet in these cars.

But riders are going to have to wait a bit longer, fpr more testing to be completed.

"We don't have the benefit of a test track," says Metro Chief Spokesperson Dan Stessel. Metro has been squeezing test 7000 series trains on the existing tracks whenever possible, during off-hours and non rush hour service.

Metro wants to get the new railcars on the tracks not only because they provide a new look, but they are also expected to increase reliability.

"Ultimately when we look at what's been going on with on time performance - it's really been breakdowns with the (older) cars and by replacing the fleet we will get rid of we of the problems that we have had," said Sarles.

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The new 7000 series rail cars will eventually replace the 1000 series rail cars which date back to the opening of the Metro system in the 1970s.

Metro says there is no sticking point with getting the new rail cars delivered. They are being made by Japanese company Kawasaki, and manufactured in Nebraska.

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