Metrorail rolling out first of 136 new rail cars by month's end
Is that a new Metrorail train on the tracks?
But it’s just a test.
Miami-Dade Transit says it’s testing the much-anticipated new models until 2 p.m. Wednesday on the system’s main track.
It won’t be long before the new cars are carrying passengers, with the first ready for rollout early next month, according to the agency.
And people can’t wait.
“Just throw us in there we don’t care,” @FrankyK419 tweeted about Wednesday’s tryout. “Can’t be more dangerous than how we are already riding.”
Said transit chief Alice Bravo earlier this month: “People have been hearing about these cars for years. Now the new cars are here.”
The new cars will help boost the 30-plus-year-old Metrorail system, which is suffering delays and breakdowns from decades of use, deferred maintenance and crowding.
The new 136-car fleet will cost more than $350 million and be phased in over two years.
Among the promised upgrades:
▪ Built-in bike racks designed to free up more space for passengers. While current Metrorail cars simply remove multiple seats near the middle to allow for bike storage, the new ones have actual racks near the door. The idea is to give passengers with bikes a quicker, easier path to the exit and avoid delays and disruption.
▪ Easier-to-clean materials. The new cars have upholstered seats designed to be removed easier than the current ones. And the materials used to cover the interiors, including the floors, are also designed to be more graffiti-resistant than the ones in service now, which are notoriously dirty.
▪ A breezier layout without the metal stanchions that can make Metrorail cars harder to clean. Unlike the current cars, the new ones feature benches attached to the walls without vertical supports. That gives an airier feel to the interior, and should make some cleaning easier because of fewer barriers.
▪ Computerized announcements of upcoming stops. While the existing Metrorail trains rely on operators to make announcements, which can be hard to hear and understand, the new cars have computers playing emcee.
▪ New air-conditioning equipment. Metrorail passengers frequently use emergency-only windows to air out steaming cars when the air conditioning fails. Malfunctioning cooling equipment also leads to water falling from the ceilings.
▪ Security cameras. Bravo said current Metrorail cars don’t have them. The new ones do.