21st Century Metro (Update) — Inside Story

21st Century Metro (Update) -- Inside Story

While the authorities propose half-measures like the Model 7000 Metrorail cars, we have looked at the future of DC’s mass transit, the Model 8001 (above). The Washington Post and other worry warts fret about Metro’s ability to carry an increasing passenger load, but NotionsCapital Engineering and others are working on the problem. Our most elegant solution, HPS (Horizontal Passenger Stacking), met with some petty objections, so we suggest this simple interior redesign:

 Metro Model 8001 Meteor X-section

There are several advantages to double-decking. Tourists and junior high school kids would want to ride on the top deck, so real people would have a quieter trip. Access to the top deck would be made as attractive as possible:

Metro Model 8001 Meteor upper deck access

The cylinder to the left of the spiral staircase is the elevator for wheelchair, stroller and Heelys access.

Some rush hour trains on the Red Line only run to Silver Spring, not all the way out to Glenmont. For those trains that do run the full route, top deck seating might look like this:

Metro Model 8001 Meteor top deck seats

With system-wide WiFi, the top deck seats would be popular with bloggers as well as tired commuters, the homeless and lovers.

Others want to double-deck the Metro tunnels, but double-decking the railcars would be much better. It’s cheaper and won’t slow traffic and depress surface retail business with messy excavation projects. Not only that: the taller cars should reduce sound reverberation in stations so public address announcements will be nearly intelligible.

On the down side, accelerating double-deck trains in underground tunnels will produce winds strong enough to blow around newspapers, iPods and small children on the platforms, but surely this is a small price to pay for progress.

Top image by Mike Licht, NotionsCaptial Engineering; x-section from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; staircase by Boeing or Led Zeppelin (I forget which); snooze seats by United Airlines.

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