First look at new HR4000 subway rail cars

In 2016, the Metro Board of Directors approved a contract with China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) for 64 new HR4000 subway vehicles that will be used on the Red and Purple Lines. The contract also includes five options for an additional 218 vehicles. With the Purple Line being extended nine miles to Westwood, Metro needs new rail vehicles to maintain service levels, as well as replacement vehicles for the aging vehicles in the Metro fleet — the average age of our current vehicles is more than 20 years old.

Manufacturing of the exterior shell of the subway is currently taking place in China. Recently, Metro staff visited the CRRC rail facility to view a mock-up of the HR4000. The mock-up is one-third the size of a standard rail car; the idea is to give us an advanced look and feel of the proposed design and function of the new rail cars.

The most noticeable design change is the bench seating! The side-facing seating configuration allows for a wider walkway and more room for standing passengers. Many other metro systems around the world also use bench seating on their trains, whether exclusively or in some combination of side-facing and front-facing. These include subways in Toronto, New York City, Beijing and London.

Some other changes include an illuminated line map, USB ports for passenger use and a new design in the bike area that will offer a strap to secure bikes. Please note this is only a mock-up, and final design may be subject to change.

Final assembly will take place in Springfield, Mass. A new facility is planned for the L.A. area to manufacture some of the components of the rail cars. Metro expects to receive pilot HR4000 vehicles in December 2020 and testing will follow.

A separate Metro project is also expanding the downtown Los Angeles rail yard for subway vehicles to accommodate a larger fleet.

Here are some more renderings of the new subway vehicles:


46 replies

  1. Please see this video:
    “Could this subway car save NYC transit? From Cheddar explains. That is the seating config LACMTA should use in its new heavy rail subway cars. And Cheddar Explains how all bench or too much bench seating is not a great solution, either. In general we need to look at Asia, especially Japan for inspiration and solution, not NYC’s most often negative comments and comlaint ridden feedback from NYC Transit users themselves for any inspiration other than countless thing avoid doing.

    None of our many many inconsiderate, chowing down on their meals and drink while soiling seats while eating and drinking, space hogging big bicycles and their owners who brush the filthy tires upon your clothes and present a legitimate egrss danger in an emergency evacuation, severely mentally ill, passed out from drug or drink, urine drenched, using adjacent seat as a footstool, bags placed on empty seats during standing-room-only, in your face to sell you something, ghetto blaster on high volume playing ugly music, non-valid TAP holding (often with no TAP card at all) LA subway Riders who have no business riding the subway in the first place, are never willing nor ever going to be so-called educated about “code of conduct” such as just kindly allowing elderly or handicapped the seats to which they have a right if a passenger already sitting in that seat has no legitimate need for it due to disability or age other violations of code of conduct behavior. The only so-called education that will work is actual police officers–not the useless Metro security–hand out citations for all violations of code of conduct and if necessary removing those passages from trains and stations and not allowing those who do not have valid tap cards or exhibit other violent or highly unstable behavior that can represent a threat to personal safety from entering stations or trains in the first place. It’s so bad now but all of the above things I observed on just a single ride on the red line just yesterday. It used to take a number of rides on a single day to see all of that, but not anymore.

    On a positive note, I do like the gangway between the two permanently married cars. That will go a long way to provide Riders more options and seating and standing.

  2. This is terrible for seniors and others who need to sit. An absolutely horrible cattle-car design.

  3. NO bikes at peak hours! Yeah I know, I’m in the minority on this but I’m a regular user of the trains. When they are CROWDED and you see the bike people, it’s cringe time and watch your feet. If you are wearing light colored pants or a skirt watch the bike…

  4. I see some rather nice sleeping quarters for the homeless. Far superior to the train’s internal layout in use now. I see a great place for young rude mannered males and females to stretch out and place their dirty shoes where folks sit. I see the REALITY of this layout. With regular police presence, this might work. However, one usually only sees the police near the major hubs. The MTA mall cops are next to useless… Oh, I’m sorry, I went off the “rails” there…

  5. Hello from New York City where seats along the windows, facing each other across the aisle makes total sense in terms of accommodating standees and making it easier to enter and exit a crowded train car. People who criticize this arrangement don’t understand mass transit.

  6. I hope the Chinese do spy on us on the train. Maybe they can give us some tips about our ridership. I cannot travel without head phones and do you know why? Because I rather jump off the train then to hear about the stupid s***t people talk about. Trust me Chinese have better things to do. Metro how are you going to keep us safe from each other? Oh and no on the USB.

  7. PLEASE please please we need open gangways thru the entire train. Bench seating is great, a train with no seats would be even better.

  8. We should hold the doors for seniors and the disabled too. Also, at transfer points, trains should be held for the seniors and disabled. I for one think the subways should have beds. Id rather lie down than sit. Children will need naps as well so they are not crying during the ride. We should have changing stations and shoe shiners on trains too. Oh, and dry cleaners.

  9. Finally bench seating. I believe this is the sustainable move from comfortable seating towards maximizing the capacity on the rail vehicles. While I do believe increasing the frequency is the ultimate goal, more standing room and open space on Metro rail would help reduce overcrowding on platforms during peaks. I hope they will do the same on light rail vehicles because the light rail lines are reaching the maximize capacity, and Metro will need to figure out an alternative way to accommodate additional riders in the future. In terms of seating concern, we will have to educate people to allow senior riders to take the seat, and those who cannot can either ride the train during off peak or use the Access Shuttle service.

  10. Serious question: Congress is soon expected to approve legislation that would effectively bar CRCC from competing for new contracts in the United States, citing national security and economic concerns. What is Metro doing to make sure these cars are safe and free from malware or hacking?

    Thank you for always providing us the most comprehensive transit and transportation news in Southern California!


    • Hi Josh–

      I’ll have to ask — not sure. To date, we haven’t had racks on trains or a dedicated bike car (which I’m sure you know).

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  11. Please pass on that we need to add either a special train for bikes or we need to add bike racks for people to hang their bikes, or BOTH. If we do not do this we are sending the message as a community that we do not support biking in the city. This would be a huge missed opportunity if we do not add this to the new trains. Please make sure this need is noted.

    • Umm, I don’t disagree with you at all but please understand that this goes BEYOND Metro as well. How about we have people stop stealing in general. I’ve been to parts of the world where bikes are not allowed on trains and still hit ridership stats that are currently a fantasy for Metro, and bike thefts are low to none. Having just a train car will not stop inconsiderate people from still using the regular cars, which is the big issue today.

      I’m not here defending Metro, as personally instead of getting “hopping cars” they still insist on purchasing individual cars and have us patrons have to literally exit from one car to the next in order to hop.

  12. Why is it that this particular agency insists on having us actually get out of train car in order to move to the next train car, rather than just simply being able to hop from car to car? Do we really have to be that cheap? Like, believe it or not, it’s simple things like this that affects ridership, so for once, why not actually try something different this time. It’s a brand new generation you know

    But I guess I should expect this from the same agency that can’t even keep all-door boarding buses to strictly run on routes assign for all-door boarding (Silver Line, 720 & 754), which causes confusion on other routes that also run such buses not assigned for All door boarding (4, 40, 204, 207, 704 and 733).

  13. Those not in reach of a pole or strap will be held in place by the crush of bodies surrounding them.

  14. GREAT JOB on the bench seating Metro!! I am an admittedly big complainer about some Metro items, but this is a big improvement (I still ride every day despite my complaining, just to keep things in perspective). The cars are getting more crowded and standing is becoming more necessary, but is hard with the current configuration. I applaud and support the new design – I hope for it on other lines as well. And I’m happy you are learning from what hasn’t worked in the past. Re the comment about aging riders, I think this is other riders fault for not giving up seats to those who need them … we need to become better about this in Los Angeles.

    And I’ve noticed and appreciated the vinyl seating. Keep up the improvements, thanks.

  15. Would love to see Metro to do what Metrolink has been doing, with all train cars gangways accessible by the passengers, so that we can move around freely ….. such as to get to a less crowded train car, to give space to disabled passengers, to anticipate the desired exit position at the next station, to escape from a dangerous situation, etc.

    Please also do that for light rail rolling stocks in the future.

    It makes all the sense in the world.

  16. Is this serious? Fewer seats? And this is being sold as a good thing? Will wonders never cease

  17. Thank goodness we’re finally getting bench seats! But let’s make it 100% bench seats instead of this hyrbid. Any chance of moving to bench seat configuration on the light rail vehicles?

  18. The side seating concept isn’t new to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Railway cars had bench seating on many streetcars. My concern about the bench seating is that it will give those who now take up 2 or 3 seats with their personal “belongings” to stretch out even more occupying up to 5 seat-lengths.

  19. Steve, are they going for open gangways (as these appear to be)? I’m not a fan of sideways seating because I find it uncomfortable as a rider, but the tradeoff may be worth it.

  20. So how much did the trip to China actually cost? And who or how many Metro Employees was really needed for this trip to see a “mockup.”
    Feels like a waste of money.
    Steve or Anna, answers please.

    • Hi Mark J;

      The best way to get travel expenses is to submit a public records request. I don’t have those numbers.

      I disagree that the trip was a waste. The base purchase of 64 rail vehicles is for $178 million and Metro has options to purchase another 218 cars. Given the amount of money involved and the importance of the rail vehicles (the subway is our busiest transit line in terms of ridership), I think it’s justified for staff to visit the manufacturing facility and see what progress has been made.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  21. If this causes me to have to stand on my daily commute, I’ll be back in my car.

    • This is literally done in part of the world that actually have a “World Class” transit system, just saying.

  22. What will people standing in the middle hold on to? The nearest pole is several feet away.

  23. Terrible cars, Metro is doing a great job on ruining the great system we currently have.

    • How so? This is literally how it’s done in most other parts of the world that actually have a “world class” public transit system, which LA is still decades away from having. This is a great first step.

  24. Bench Seating is not a good idea.
    Everyone is getting older (every day!) and standing up in a moving vehicle will not get easier.
    Please provide adequate seating for those who are needing it.

    • I agree with you that there needs to be available seating for older and physically limited passengers. But if anything, I think bench seating will help with this. Currently, with front-facing seating, it’s difficult for passengers who need a seat to navigate through narrow isles on crowded trains, and it’s also often impractical for someone blocked in against a window to give up their seat to someone in need. Having wider aisles with bench seating addresses both these problems. So even though there will be fewer overall seats, there will likely be more available to people who need them. I like the new design!

      • One of the issues on bench seats is the leg spreaders….we have all experienced these inconsiderate riders that have to spread there legs taking up almost two spaces. Hard to do with buckets. As far as the homeless…that’s a police issue. You should not be allowed to crawl up and sleep on trains unless you can do it in one seat.

      • Frequent Red Line rider, Obviously you are NOT a person with a disability or mobility issues, a senior, or observant.
        I cannot remember the last time(years) an able bodied person that wasn’t older than I offered to give me their blue seat.
        I have asked and been offered a one-finger salute more times than the seat was relinquished.
        Today I took the RedLine from N.H. to Union Station in the a.m. and returned in the p.m. with a side trip on the PurpleLine on the way home.
        I counted more than 35 bums, vagrants, drunks and other social misfits sleeping in the cars, taking up two or three seats with no enforcement in sight.
        I went through multiple cars trying to find a blue seat at the beginning of each trip and every blue seat was filled with someone still sleeping from the last trip.
        Where is the fare enforcement, law enforcement or code of conduct enforcement?
        Bench seating just means that I have someone’s crotch or ass in my face when it gets crowded.
        BTW, I use a cane most days, have more grey hair than brown and look older than Santa Claus.
        No body is anxious to stand.

  25. Just one person’s rambling thoughts, FWIW: Save some funds and do without the USB ports. They’ll break; they don’t promote community connection; they don’t help make the trains run on time; nor keep them clean…
    All the complaints about bench seating inviting homeless sleepers, and wide standing room inviting buskers and dancers should also be discounted. It is up to us, the passengers, to recognize that the Metro is an increasingly core part of our community, and we would do well to collectively look out for the health of this evolving community space. Wider space creates more access for people with disabilities, as well as strollers, bicycles, etc. It also allows for more passengers during rush hour periods. Bench seating encourages centrally focused ridership, which has been shown to heighten safety and security.
    It would be good to hear that more manufacturing and materials jobs were being brought to SoCal, as these carriages are constructed and deployed. Otherwise, so long as Metro is conscientiously studying the successes and failures of DC, Barcelona, London, Tokyo, and other strong urban rail communities, this is exciting!

    • Oh shut up…id doubt you speak fir the rest of us.. this is impractical and a social disaster in the waiting.

      • He’s not completely in the wrong either though. We really could do without USB ports. As far as everything else, it’s up the people, not just Metro as well.

        • If you have ANY kind of personal information on your electronic device: phone, laptop or tablet, you NEVER use a public USB port. Unless you’re an idiot.

  26. Are you keeping the cloth seats? New York, London, etc, doesn’t do that and it makes it cleaner and easier to clean. Not sure why LA insists on keep that feature.

    • Hi,

      The new cars will have vinyl seating. We are also in the process of swapping out cloth seats with vinyl.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  27. These are ugly as sin and the finishes look cheap, but OTOH it’s just a mockup and I’m confident the production cars will be nicer looking.

    Did we have to go with bucket seating as opposed to true bench seats (see what CRRC did for the MBTA in Boston on the new Orange Line cars)?