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Of all the cars in Metro’s fleet, I was surprised to get…

January 17, 2008, 9:34 PM

First of all, let me say I had my first Alstom ride on the Red Line this morning. The Red Line is still mostly Rohrs, though as of late, it’s had quite a bit of Alstom-manufactured cars coming in. However, up until today, I’d never gotten an Alstom for my regular Glenmont-to-Dupont-Circle-and-back commute.

So this morning, I’m at Glenmont, waiting for my train on the platform. Alstom! And not just any Alstom, either – I got Alstom 6105, which is part of the first pair of cars to have “resilient” flooring rather than carpet. I first discussed these cars back in the early part of December. Recall back then that my reaction was neutral to slightly positive. Now that I’ve ridden the non-carpeted pair, I’m confident that Metro can shed its carpet and still do just fine.

First of all, this particular color doesn’t show dirt very well. There was some crud on the floor, but the gray color with little flecks in it didn’t make it too obvious, therefore I had to actually look for it. It’s just about at that happy medium to where dirt gets hidden, it seems. Then of course to clean this you just have to run a mop over it. Additionally, it harmonizes well with the remainder of the decor, which didn’t change. These Alstoms still have the white walls, white ceiling, white seat frames, gray armrests, and “Colonial Burgundy”, “Potomac Blue”, and “Chesapeake Sand” colored cushions. One thing I was concerned about was sound, and I was pleased to say that I noticed no major differences in noise levels with the non-carpeted floor vs. the carpeted floor. So I think that this “resilient” flooring thing is in the end probably a good thing, as long as Metro decides to go with a color that doesn’t show dirt, and also works with all the various color schemes they have come up with or might come up with in the future, especially since this flooring is supposed to last a long time. Thus that gray color they picked here is probably a good choice.

Now I can’t comment on how this does in bad weather, since even though it snowed today, it hadn’t started yet for the morning commute, and so everything was dry when I was on board.

However, I still think that Metro should mark the door zones with a different, darker color, if nothing else but to designate a keep-out zone on the floor around the doors, where standing passengers should not linger.

These cars also had the spring-loaded metal “straps” along the ceiling bars. Most people did not use them, but shorter passengers certainly made good use of them.

And I got photos of Alstom 6105 with my cell phone…

Overview of Alstom 6105, as seen from my usual seat.
Overview of Alstom 6105, as seen from my usual seat.

Detail of the area around the center doors. Note uniform floor color throughout, and no change in markings in the door zone.
Detail of the area around the center doors. Note uniform floor color throughout, and no change in markings in the door zone.

The only carpet on Alstom 6105 was on the sides of the box under the double-ended seat. Whether this was deliberate or not, I don't know, but one would think it would have looked more natural to run the new flooring up the sides. Of course, this is Metro we're dealing with, who, when recarpeting their Rohr cars, changed the carpet on many cars to the newer pinkish style, but left the carpet on the double-ended seat its original orange color. However, on the 4000-series cars that got the newer carpet, they also recarpeted the double-ended seat, using the door zone color.
The only carpet on Alstom 6105 was on the sides of the box under the double-ended seat. Whether this was deliberate or not, I don’t know, but one would think it would have looked more natural to run the new flooring up the sides. Of course, this is Metro we’re dealing with, who, when recarpeting their Rohr cars, changed the carpet on many cars to the newer pinkish style, but left the carpet on the double-ended seat its original orange color. However, on the 4000-series cars that got the newer carpet, they also recarpeted the double-ended seat, using the door zone color.

Detail of the pattern on the new "resilient" flooring.
Detail of the pattern on the new “resilient” flooring.

The feet of commuters about to get off at Dupont Circle on the new flooring.
The feet of commuters about to get off at Dupont Circle on the new flooring.

The metal "straps" along the ceiling.
The metal “straps” along the ceiling.

A shorter passenger makes use of the metal "straps".
A shorter passenger makes use of the metal “straps”.

So there you go.

And meanwhile, I’m amazed – the Red Line actually got a test car! Usually, the Red Line is Rohr, Rohr, and more Rohr, with an occasional Breda thrown in there for flavor. Usually, it seems like the Green and Yellow Lines get to have all the fun…

Web site: Totally unrelated, but it's funny: How to bathe a cat. I was reading this to Katie over the phone today, and I was barely able to contain my laughter...

Song: *ding ding* Doors opening! Step back to allow customers to exit. When boarding, please move to the center of the car.

Quote: So yeah, there you go...

Categories: WMATA