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Transportation Nation

A Sneak Peak At D.C. Metro's New Train Cars

Friday, July 08, 2011

(Washington D.C. - WAMU) In a few years, Metro is getting rid of a quarter of its old rail cars, the ones that crumpled like telescopes in the 2009 Red Line train crash and were deemed unsafe by federal investigators. And in their place will be a fleet of all new train cars.

Officials say their goal is to develop something sturdy and safe, but also something comfortable and inviting

"The design has a physical aspect, as well as a psychological aspect," says Masamichi Udagawa, an industrial designer Metro brought on to help design the aesthetics of the new cars.

He says the interiors will be a dark blue color, rather than the traditional orange and brown Metro riders are used to.

Udagawa says the reason for the change is that brown isn’t a very popular color.

"People really didn't like seeing the brown again," he laughs. "The color is a very subjective thing. It's very, very context-sensitive. So in the context of the D.C. system, people are a bit tired and maybe bored with brown."

The Kawasaki Company, based out of Japan, is building the train cars and could have them ready by 2013. But Metro says they might be delayed because of the recent earthquake and tsunami.

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