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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) aims to introduce its first 7000-series train on April 14, the agency announced yesterday.The new railcars, which will make their debut on WMATA's Blue Line, meet improved crashworthiness standards to absorb maximum energy in a collision, officials said. They also feature event recorders, digital surveillance systems and "anti-climbers," which help keep cars upright in a collision."Safety must always be at the forefront of everything we do, and that is exactly what this investment in our railcar fleet is all about," said WMATA Chair Mort Downey. "The 7000-series cars represent a significant improvement in safety, reliability and rider comfort."The new railcars will increase the size of WMATA's fleet by 128. Eventually, they will replace all 1000- and 4000-series cars. WMATA ordered a total 528 of the new 7000 series railcars, according to an agency press release.The cars offer new customer amenities, such as handholds, improved seats with more knee room, an LCD map and LED screens that provide current and upcoming station information.As yet another component of the agency's safety efforts, WMATA yesterday posted emergency preparedness videos that instruct riders how to respond in the event of a smoke- or fire-related emergency on a train or in a train station.The safety videos were created in response to a smoke-related incident in January that left one passenger dead and 80 injured.
[Editor's note: This post has been updated from an earlier version of the story.]