Metro cars with black floors, wool seats, and overly “busy” patterns…

4 minute read

March 2, 2011, 10:57 PM

One of the people I work with, when taking the Orange Line, happened to get Alstom 6027 for their ride into Washington today, and was surprised about the seat patterns being employed there. For those who don’t know, Alstom 6027 is one of two Metro cars (the other being its mate, Alstom 6026) that have been outfitted with some new materials that Metro is testing for future use on rail cars. Specifically, Metro is testing out certain types of resilient flooring and different patterns for wool seat pad covers on this car, having first outfitted the cars like this in late 2008.

On the resilient flooring, Metro seems to be primarily testing colors across the 6026-6027 pair. 6026 has a black floor:

Alstom 6026

And 6027 has a gray floor:

Alstom 6027

Then Metro is testing four different seat styles in both of these cars (same four styles on both cars). There’s solid red:

Red wool seats

Some sort of blue-squares-like pattern, called “aura”:

Some sort of blue-squares-like pattern, called "aura"

A rather busy and colorful blue pattern, called the “balls and seals” version of the “vigor” pattern:

A rather busy and colorful blue pattern, called the "balls and seals" version of the "vigor" pattern

And a black pattern with rainbow accents, another “vigor” pattern called “gray rainbow”:

And a black pattern with rainbow accents, another "vigor" pattern called "gray rainbow"

There’s also a solid blue, but I don’t have a good photo of it to show you. Just use your imagination for a moment, and imagine a strong, mid-tier blue color, and you’ve got it.

The person I work with saw the “Balls and Seals” pattern, and was less than impressed by it. Personally, I don’t think it’s the worst of them, but it’s not the best, either.

My dream rail car design would be the “gray rainbow” seats on the black floor. I just really like that black floor, and the seats have just enough color and pattern to be fun, but not over the top. Then if I couldn’t have the “gray rainbow”, I would gladly go for the blue “aura” pattern, and still with the black floor. I’m not too fond of the “seals and balls” pattern because it’s a tad too “busy” and too colorful, and the solid red is just too “loud” of a color for Metro, where colors have always been a bit subdued (even the orange seats weren’t screaming out, “HEY, LOOK AT ME, I’M ORANGE!”). The solid blue is also less than appealing for me, because the solid color on fabric seems more prone to showing stains, while a pattern would likely do better at camouflaging stains. Then I don’t like the gray floor as much because I just like the black floor so much better.

I get the feeling, however, that once we start to run out of the vinyl seat covers, one of these wool seat cover patterns will start showing up all over Metro, much like the way the CAF carpeting started showing up on many of the 1000-Series cars, and all of the 4000-Series cars once the orange carpeting ran out. Likewise, once the CAF carpeting runs out, I have a feeling that we’ll either see one of these types of resilient flooring, or the kind that they tested on Alstom 6104-6105:

Alstom 6105

By the way, on all of these new flooring styles, I don’t like it that Metro doesn’t mark the door zones on the floors anymore. On the carpeted cars, Metro has always used a different color of carpeting in the areas right around the doors. It serves as a subtle reminder to “please move to the center of the car” through its different color. For that, I’d hate to lose the door zone floor color change.

So that’s Alstom 6026-6027 for you. I believe that these cars give a good idea about what the future of Metro color schemes will look like for a while, but I certainly hope that certain colors being tested don’t make it out of testing.

Web site: Metro changes Alstom 6026-6027 from standard cars into test cars...

Song: Here's an interesting bit of trivia for you: Alstom 6027, the gray-floor car, is actually the car that I turned into "Metrobar back in 2009. Likewise, Alstom 6027 was also the first Alstom I ever rode (on the Green Line), and, along with 6026, I took detailed photos of that car during that first ride and featured it on Transit Center.

Quote: Funny... DCist referred to the old vinyl seat covers as "naugahyde". However, there's no word on how many Naugas have shed their skin for Metro over the last thirty years.

Categories: WMATA