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