We read this with some amusement:
“I was waiting for a Silver, Orange, or Blue train at Federal Center SW around noon yesterday, and a no passenger train went through. The first car was very bizarre looking and I’m almost certain was #8003. What is this mystery car?”
Our Metro-expert-in-chief, Matt Johnson had the answer.
Cars 8000, 8001, 8002, and 8003 (formerly 1010, 1011, 1044, and 1045) are the “money train” cars.
WMATA collects coins and bills from the ticket vending machines (TVMs) around the system using railcars modified for that purpose. Throughout the day, Metro employees escorted my MTPD officers use special carts to empty fare revenue from the TVMs and store the carts in rooms in the station until time to put them aboard the Money Train. The Money Train makes two sweeps through the system each weekday.
There are two pairs of Money Train cars. It is not clear to me whether they use both each day or whether they rotate them. Regardless, two Money Train cars are paired with two regular cars and run through the system as a 4-car train. The Money Train cars are used for the carts. The other cars are just backup power and to make sure the train doesn’t get caught in any third rail gaps longer than 150 feet.
The Money Train cars are specially modified in a few ways. First, they have extra tinted windows, making it nearly impossible to see inside. All seats have been removed to make way for the carts. The floors are also reinforced to hold the weight of the carts. They also apparently have shotgun racks for MTPD officers to defend the train as necessary. On the exterior of the train, the cars still have plastic mylar rollsigns (as opposed to flipdot (1000 and 4000) or LED (2/3000, 5000, 6000, 7000) signs on revenue cars).
There’s obviously a movie script in all of this:
- Dashing, handsome/beautiful criminals come up with convoluted plan to STEAL THE MONEY TRAIN.
- Dashing, handsome/beautiful criminals execute convoluted plan to STEAL THE MONEY TRAIN.
- THE MONEY TRAIN derails/breaks down. Dashing, handsome/beautiful criminals are arrested without much fuss, hijinks or chases.
- The end.
Seriously though, I bet THE MONEY TRAIN doesn’t break down….