New Green Line Trains Will Hit the Tracks By 2017

MassDOT officials voted in favor of a $118 million contract for updated vehicles.
Photo courtesy of MBTA

Photo courtesy of MBTA

Riders will soon be relieved of piling onto some of the squeaky, rusted, worn-out Green Line trains that are currently on the tracks, after officials voted this week to enter into a deal to bring newer trolleys to the system.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts Department of Transportation board members unanimously agreed to accept a formal contract with CAF USA, Inc., a Delaware-based company with corporate offices in Washington, D.C., to furnish and deliver 24 new Green Line “Type 9” Light Rail vehicles. The contract, valued at $118.1 million, means that some of those updated Green Line trains will hit the tracks within the next three years.

“The first of the new Green Line cars [will] be delivered before the end of 2017,” according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. “All of the new cars [will] be delivered by 2019. The new cars will be used throughout the Green Line.”

Pesaturo said the new train cars are needed to help support the Green Line Extension that’s planned for Somerville and parts of Medford. But that project likely won’t be ready until sometime in 2019, so riders would get a few years to use the trolleys before they venture down the new set of tracks toward Union Square.

MassDOT has already started working on the the Green Line Extension, and bridge and roadway upgrades are currently underway in Somerville and Medford. Major utility relocation and site preparation work is scheduled to begin later this year with full construction commencing in the spring of 2015. The entire project is expected to cost upwards of $1.2 billion.

The bidding process to produce the new trains was open to all qualified makers of light rail vehicles, but CAF USA, Inc. came in at the lowest cost for the work the T is looking to get done. The new vehicles will feature a “modern and comfortable passenger experience,” according to the T, and “dynamic computer controlled lighting, heating, and cooling technologies for greater passenger comfort, satisfaction, and ride quality.”

Officials said the train cars will be designed to meet the latest ADA requirements with 70 percent of the car being low-floor, with four wheelchair and stroller locations as well as four “perch” seats in the center section. The cars will be equipped with an internal and external video recording system covering the passenger compartment, doorways and the right-of-way, according to a statement from the T.

Once the new trains hit the tracks, they will join the current fleet of Green Line trolleys, which includes 106 Type 7’s, and 94 Type 8’s. Currently, Alstom Transportation in Hornell, New York is overhauling some of the Type 7 trains, which were built in 1986, 1987, and 1997. That contract was awarded to the company in 2012.


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com