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: