This Is How the New MBTA Orange Line Trains Will Look

The Chinese company building them in Springfield have made a two-thirds-scale model.
orange line mockup 1

Photo via MBTA

Those new trains headed for the MBTA’s Orange Line still won’t hit the tracks until 2019, but in the meantime, feel free to gawk at this preview of what’s to come.

CRRC, the Chinese manufacturer that is building the vehicles in Springfield, has made a two-thirds-scale mock-up of how the new batch of train cars will look when they make their long-awaited debut. The model is scheduled to be delivered to the T in December 2017, but pictures of it showed up in documents presented to the MBTA’s oversight board today (h/t UniversalHub).

The company has a $729 million contract to build 152 Orange Line and 132 Red Line trains, which are slated to be put to use in batches through the end of 2022.

The mock-up offers a preview of what’s likely to be a welcome change for riders who’ve been boarding trains that are more than 30 years old and have a decor and dinginess that is unmistakably of the era. The new cars, officials have said, will be larger, have wider doors and improved announcement systems, and, thankfully, it looks like they will be devoid of sweat-absorbing fabrics of any kind. The wood paneling will be replaced with clean white surfaces, the metal polls replaced with bright yellow ones, and the upholstery on the seats will be replaced with hard plastic, which fold upward to accommodate riders with disabilities.

The model also sports the same paint job that commuters picked in a survey the MBTA ran last year.

New trains are poised to change the commute quite a bit. We’re sure there will still be plenty to complain about, but at least the ever-present threat of spontaneous combustion on the way home will soon be less so.

It’ll be just the latest phase for the storied Orange Line, which was Boston’s first elevated rail service when it began operations in 1901. The elevated line came down in the 1980s.

Photo via MBTA

Photo via MBTA


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com