WMATA retires 2000-series trains

May 10, 2024
The cars will be decommissioned and safety-sensitive parts and hazardous materials will be removed by the WMATA.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has retired its 2000-series trains to make room for updated vehicles better suited for the agency's current needs.

According to the agency, the trains, introduced in the early 1980s, are past their useful life. WMATA trains are built to last generally around 40 years or so. Reliability has decreased over the years and parts are getting harder to procure. 

WMATA's goal is to remove the aging trains that have more maintenance issues, leaving a more reliable fleet of newer vehicles resulting in fewer offloads and delays. The 2000-series had issues nearly four times as often as the agency's newer 7000-series trains.

The trains operated nearly 200 million miles and carried more than 775 million passengers.

“These 76 train cars helped move millions of people across the Capital region for decades and we thank them for their faithful service over the years,” said WMATA General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. “We recognize the rich history of these cars and they have certainly earned this well-deserved retirement. However, this will give riders a better experience and make way for the Fleet of the Future.”

The 2000-series trains were manufactured by Breda in Italy and then assembled in Beech Grove, Ind. Their arrival was delayed about two years due to a factory breakdown in West Germany and a labor strike in a Wilmerding, Pa,, brake factory.

WMATA says that while the train looked similar to the older 1000-series, they included new features like flip-dot destination signs instead of mylar roll signs that often malfunctioned, exterior speakers for announcements and a dozen fewer seats than the 1000-series to allow more customers per train.

In the early 2000s, the trains went through a mid-life rehabilitation replacing propulsion systems, adding new exterior and interior LED signs and updating the seats with a new color motif: Colonial Burgundy, Potomac Blue and Chesapeake Sand.

The trains were largely in storage during the pandemic but were used in recent years while WMATA addressed issues with the other fleet series.

The removal of the 2000-series also marks the end of an era for WMATA, as carpet will no longer be on any of the WMATA's trains.

Moving forward

In the coming months, the cars will be decommissioned and WMATA will remove safety-sensitive parts and hazardous materials.

Two of the 76 train cars will be saved for preservation as part of WMATA’s history. Two others are used as part of WMATA’s money train that collects cash from fare machines around the system.

WMATA’s long-term fleet strategy calls for phasing out the 3000-series trains starting in 2027. At the same time, WMATA will start to introduce the first of at least 256 new 8000-series Fleet of the Future train cars. The remaining fleet will be made up of 6000-series (with the classic brown stripe motif) and newer 7000-series and 8000-series trains.

Until the 8000-series arrive, WMATA will still have enough trains to accommodate current peak ridership and up to 33 percent more ridership growth before sustained crowding. 

WMATA retired the 1000-series in 2016 and 2017, the 4000-series in 2017 and the 5000-series in 2018 and 2019.