Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority metrorail specifications
Collection Scope and Content
The WMATA Metrorail Specifications collection is so named because the bulk of the collection is technical specifications and contracts related to the construction of Metrorail. The collection consists of unbound letter-size documents, bound letter-size reports and specifications, oversize reports and specifications, blueprints, and the WMATA website.
The collection is an artificial one, consisting of several distinct and unrelated types of documents. The earliest documents date from 1962, and were generated by the WMATA's predecessor agency, the NCTA. Most of these deal with highway development. The bulk of the material dates from 1972-78 and contains of a distinct series of oversize and letter-size bound volumes. These volumes are contract specifications for different sections of Metrorail tunnels, and each bears the name of the contractor that won the bid, as well as the contract number. The collection's third district group of documents consists of minutes of meetings, and related documents, generated by meetings of the Board of Directors and with individual contractors.
The collection's Reports and, especially, Specifications series are highly technical engineering documents. They are valuable for their comprehensive engineering detail and descriptions, through which the evolution, design and construction of the Metro system can be studied in detail. Not all routes, nor all sections along one route, are covered in the available contract specifications. The meeting minutes are valuable for their insight into administrative planning. However, the Board of Directors minutes are present (and presumed complete) only for 1971 and 1974, and the contractor meeting minutes are incomplete for the years covered, namely 1972 through 1978, with several months missing altogether.
Researchers are also advised that six titles, removed from the Metrorail Specifications Collection, have been processed elsewhere as shelved items. Consult library indexes for these titles. The are: "New York City Transit Authority Invitation to Contractors" for Contracts C-213-1 through C-213-3; Contract R-30-A; Contract R-33; and Contract R-40; "District of Columbia Department of Highways and Traffic, Standard Specifications for Highways and Structures", 1974; and "State of Maryland, State Roads Commission, Specifications for Materials, Highways, Bridges, and Incidental Structures", March 1968.
- Creation: 1962-2023
Restrictions on Access
Some records may be restricted.
Restrictions on Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Historical or Biographical Note
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, WMATA, with central offices in Washington, DC, is the private agency charged with the coordination and operation of mass transit in the National Capital Region. This area includes Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland, Arlington, the District of Columbia, and Fairfax County in Virginia.
The Interim Board of Directors of WMATA first met in mid-October, 1966, chaired by Brig. Gen. Jackson Graham, formerly Engineering Commissioner for the District. WMATA was formally established on February 20, 1967. WMATA formally received its charter in September 1967.
WMATA superseded the National Capital Transportation Agency (NCTA); a federal agency established by President Eisenhower in 1960 and inherited the bus and rail plans of the NCTA. For bus operations, WMATA bought out the routes from the private bus companies operating within its purview (with the exception of Montgomery County's "Ride-On" system) and established a single operation, Metrobus, to serve in their place.
For the creation of Metrorail, popularly known as "the Metro," routes, designs, and plans were finalized by the late 1960s. Work on the subway component began immediately upon the creation of WMATA. DeLeuw, Cather were retained as chief engineering consultants. The firm of Harry Weese and Associates were named chief architectural consultants. Weese was sent on a worldwide tour of subway systems, in order to draw inspiration and ideas for possible station architecture. The final design, agreed upon by a special committee that included the District of Columbia Board of Fine Arts and several artists and architects, was proposed in 1968.
First ground was broken for the subway above the future Judiciary Square station on December 9, 1969. The Metro ran its first day of revenue service, on the abbreviated Red Line beginning at Dupont Circle, in June 1976. Public response was enthusiastic. The system was a highlight of the Bicentennial celebrations one month later, during which it transported thousands of visitors.
18 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The WMATA Metrorail Specifications collection is comprised primarly of technical specifications and contracts related to the construction of Metrorail. The collection consists of unbound letter-size documents, bound letter-size reports and specifications, oversize reports and specifications, and blueprints. The WMATA website was added in 2023 as part of GW's Web Archives Program.
Organized into five series: Meeting minutes, Reports, Specifications, Oversize documents, and Website (captured using the Internet Archive's Archive-it service in 2023 and then once a year after that).
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail Specifications Collection was donated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to the Gelman Library in January 1985
- Guide to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority metrorail specifications records, 1962-1980
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English