New MBTA Train Cars Being Shipped From China Next Month

BOSTON (CBS) — Next month, the Chinese company tasked with building new Red and Orange Line cars to replace the MBTA’s aging fleet will ship the first of those cars to Boston from Shanghai.

CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Company announced in a release that they’ll be shipping the four pilot Orange Line cars on November 18.

china mbta 2 New MBTA Train Cars Being Shipped From China Next Month

One of the new MBTA Orange Line cars in Changchun, China. (CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Company)

“These state-of-the-art vehicles provide improved passenger comfort and incorporate technology, including solid state microprocessors, LCD passenger information displays, CCTV cameras, platform gap mitigation, automatic passenger counting, and computer-based training simulators,” CRRC MA Vice President Jai Bo said in a release.

At a rolling-out ceremony in Changchun, China last week, dignitaries and staff from CRRC and the MBTA took a ride on the first of the Orange Line cars being shipped.

The MBTA is buying 404 cars from CRRC in total–152 for the Orange Line, and 252 for the Red Line.

Some of the train cars they’re replacing date back to the 1970s.

Last year, MBTA officials said the addition of the new cars would increase line capacity and lower wait times to around five to six minutes–four during peak times.

china mbta 1 New MBTA Train Cars Being Shipped From China Next Month

MBTA officials pose with CRRC personnel and local dignitaries aboard one of the pilot cars in Changchun, China. (CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Company)

They said the new cars would be introduced in 2019, with full replacement of the old cars on the Red Line by 2024.

The cars will be constructed and tested at a $95 million, 204,000-square-foot facility in Springfield, complete with a nearly half-mile test track and staging and storing area.

CRRC is the first Chinese manufacturer to build a fleet of cars for a US rail system–and they also recently were awarded contracts for transit systems in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

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