Late last year, Metro introduced new wool seat coverings in two of its railcars. Five fabric patterns are being tested on cars 6026 and 6027 and the outcome of this test will influence the look of Metro's next generation of railcars. While Metro currently uses the distinctive Naugahyde seats in two different schemes, the 7000 series railcars will use only one of the five fabrics currently undergoing testing.
When Metro opened in 1976, industrial colors were in high demand. As a result, the beige interiors were complimented with brown carpet and seats in three different colors. Originally, railcars were outfitted with orange, brown, and yellow seats. In 2001, Metro introduced three new colors for its new and rehabilitated railcars. Dubbed Potomac blue, Chesapeake sand, and Colonial burgundy, the patriotic colors were matched by a brighter white interior and red carpeting. Both sets of seats are a plastic coated vinyl polymer which is becoming increasingly hard for Metro to obtain.
The current vinyl seats are cleaned every 60 days and are replaced after one to three years depending on their condition. Replacing seats costs about $20.
Because Metro needs to find a more reliable supply of seats, they're looking toward these wool seat covers to meet their needs in the next generation of railcars. Railcars 6026 and 6027 are about halfway through their 6-month testing period. Metro announced in December that two more railcars would be outfitted with wool seats around the beginning of March, but no announcements have been made since.
I chanced upon cars 6026 and 6027 a few weeks ago, and captured pictures of the different fabrics. I've seen the cars a few times, always on the Green and Yellow Lines. Riders on the other lines may not see wool seats until new railcars are outfitted.
Blue Squares, my favorite