City Desk

1000-Series Metro Cars: How to Avoid Them, If You So Choose

Hey, Metro rider!

By now, in the wake of Monday's collision, you've heard plenty about the different types of Metro cars—specifically how the oldest '1000-series' cars were judged by the NTSB years ago to offer substandard levels of protection in a crash.

So maybe you're thinking that you should avoid these cars. But how?

Very simple: At the front and back of each car, underneath the operator's window, there is a plate with a four-digit figure. That would be your car number. If the digit starts with a '1,' that's a 1000-series car.

Perhaps, under your personal risk calculus, you'd prefer to find another car—or at least one not on the ends of the train. (Two cars of the same series always stay together in 'married pairs,' but trains can consist of two to four pairs of different types.)

There were originally 300 cars of the 1000-type, numbered 1000 to 1299. 290 are still in service, Wikipedia notes. The exceptions:

Car 1028, separated from its mate after it was destroyed during the Federal Triangle derailment in 1982, has become the feeler car that checks system clearances. Four cars, now numbered 8000-8003, serve as the money train to collect the revenue from station farecard machines. 1076 is also permanently out of service after its mate was destroyed in the 2004 accident at Woodley Park–Zoo/Adams Morgan station. 1079 was the lead car on the second train involved in the 2009 Washington Metro accident.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • mike

    ooh the money train! now that sounds like an exciting car to ride on!!

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  • Jamie

    Given that you have about a one in 600 million chance of being killed in a metro accident, this seems like a pretty useless investment in energy. You'd increase your odds of living another day by doing things like, for example, foregoing a single car trip.

  • windster

    It may be harder to avoid these cars on some lines. For example, the Green line has a lot more newer cars than the Yellow line. When they debuted the new carpet models, they started on Green and are just now getting to Yellow. If you wait for a new train on Yellow, you could be waiting a long, long time.

  • Mike DeBonis

    Like I said, Jamie, it's all about your personal risk calculus.

    Personally, I'm going to draw my personal line on boarding 1000-series cars at the terminal ends of trains. I'm going to avoid that, and just pick a middle-of-the-train car. Not much energy investment involved there.

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  • Robert Morris

    Well, I'm a little late to this party--but WMATA no longer places 1000-series cars at the end of trains, so you don't even need to try to avoid that particular situation anymore. (Or, at least, that's the policy they started implementing a year ago...)