As the MBTA operates a massive Orange Line shutdown and addresses concerns in a scathing federal report released this week, “super” isn’t a word many associate with the agency behind America’s oldest subway system. But that may change over the next few years, at least when talking about the Green Line.
The MBTA leadership voted this week to allow the construction and delivery of more than 100 new “supercars” on the Green Line, which officials say will dramatically increase capacity and safety on the sprawling line.
The Agency’s Board of Directors awarded a contract of more than $810 million to CAF USA Inc. To purchase 102 vehicles, along with testing equipment, special tools, training simulators, and other resources that employees will need to operate the new vehicles.
Type 10 supercars will replace the outdated Type 7 and 8 trains. T estimates that the first supercars won’t be delivered and operational until the spring of 2026. At that time, four test vehicles will be delivered to Boston. Starting in the spring of 2027, the T hopes to run two supercars per month, continuing through 2031.
MBTA spokesman Joe Psatoro told Boston.com that the supercars will be 40 feet longer than the regular Green Line trains in use today. A clear lane will run 32 inches down the center of each train.
Wider door openings will increase passenger capacity, boarding efficiency and accessibility. The new trains will also be more accessible due to the constant climbing on the lower floor, eliminating the need for passengers to use stairs to get on the plane. Bridge panels will be available on all doors of the two-leaf vehicle, and four priority areas will be assigned to passengers using wheeled mobility devices.
Unlike current Green Line trains, the supercars will have full-width, enclosed operator cabins at each end of the train. The cars will require fewer employees to operate them, according to documents presented at the board meeting. This design also reduces the likelihood of operators seeing “external distractions,” Pesatoro said.
Along with safety and accessibility upgrades, the supercars will feature the latest technology, Psatoru said. Special information screens will be placed throughout the trains to help passengers easily find their way through the complex MBTA subway system.
The latest collision safety technology will be added to the cars, creating a safer experience for passengers and employees. The near-unprecedented inspection this year by the Federal Transit Administration was prompted by several sometimes fatal safety incidents on T.
The project design phase is scheduled to begin this fall. During this phase, designs will be finalized to upgrade the train yards, signaling systems and vehicle maintenance facilities. Delivery of the first hypersonic car simulator for training purposes is scheduled for the fall of 2025.
CAF will manufacture and assemble cars and other components at its plant in Elmira, New York, and at another location in Spain.
New Green Line Type 9 vehicles entered service starting in late 2018, also manufactured by CAF. In total, the company delivered 24 new train cars to the Green Line.
T has also tried to incorporate new Orange Line trains in recent years. In June, battery problems caused the dealership to withdraw all of these vehicles from service. In May, workers discovered that the trains’ brake calipers had been installed incorrectly, and they towed cars to investigate the problem.
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