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Orange You Happy About The New MBTA Subway Cars? These Riders Are03:08
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One of the new Orange Line MBTA cars on the track. (Steve Brown/WBUR)
One of the new Orange Line MBTA cars on the track. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

As soon as you step on board a new Orange Line car, you can't help but notice how different this train is from the existing trains.

Back in service after workers replaced a squealing pad, he exterior and interior have a sleek new look. Several small surveillance cameras protrude from the ceiling.

The doors are much wider. Overhead announcements are crisp and much easier to understand.

Digital display screens throughout the car keep passengers apprised of the next station and other important information.

"I feel like more information, like that screen [is] displaying, is helpful when you don't pay attention," said Bill Zhao of Philadelphia as he pointed to one of the digital display screens.

The new Orange Line cars’ trip information display. (Steve Brown/WBUR)
The new Orange Line cars’ trip information display. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

The T is purchasing 152 of these new Orange Line cars, which are manufactured in China and assembled in Springfield. By the end of 2022, they should all be in service, according to the agency. The existing fleet, which was deployed between 1979 and 1981, will be scrapped.

New rolling stock is also being manufactured to replace the current Red Line trains, some of which have been in service since Richard Nixon was president.

Combined, the T is spending $1 billion to replace all the trains on the Orange and Red lines.

The new Orange Line train was put in service last August, but then pulled from the tracks in November after on-board vehicle engineers detected an unusual sound coming from the train's undercarriage. It was determined that bolster bearing pads on the truck frame were not wearing properly, so they were swapped out for new pads with a smoother surface.

The ride on the new cars is definitely an improvement over the older cars, and passenger Gerald Fowlkes of Boston thinks that may go a long way toward improving the overall MBTA experience.

A new Orange Line train. The MBTA says it plans to replace the line's entire fleet by 2022. (Courtesy MBTA)
A new Orange Line train. The MBTA says it plans to replace the line's entire fleet by 2022. (Courtesy MBTA)

"I'm enjoying this. This is nice — smooth, you know, and everything," he said. "People seem to be more friendlier. It's more user friendly," he said.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said they'll continue to run the new train during peak morning and afternoon commutes each day, with additional personnel on board to monitor how the train is performing under actual rush hour conditions.

The bright interior of one of the new Orange Line cars. (Steve Brown/WBUR)
The bright interior of one of the new Orange Line cars. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

The slider image comparing the old and new Orangle Line trains comes courtesy of the MBTA

This segment aired on January 9, 2020.

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Steve Brown Twitter Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.

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