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Boston orders 102 CAF low-floor trams

Artist's Impression of CAF's new seven-car low-floor trams for Boston I © CAF

On 31 August the Board of Directors of The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) agreed to designate CAF USA as the successful bidder for the project to supply 102 LRVs to run on the Green Line in the City of Boston for $811 million. The base contract contemplates the manufacture of the 102 vehicles, two driving simulators, fleet parts, special tools and test equipment for the vehicles supplied, as well as the warranty technical service for a period of 3 years. The contract provides also for various options for the purchase of additional vehicles and equipment in addition to the 102 LRVs. These options could be executed by MBTA in the coming years.

Double traction of the Type 9 in Boston, also supplied by CAF I © Wikipedia licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Replacement of existing fleet

MBTA is the public agency responsible for operating most public transportation services in Greater Boston. This is CAF Group’s second project in the city, given that in 2014 MBTA also awarded CAF USA the contract to manufacture 24 LRVs, called Type 9, which are currently running on the Green Line, a move that once again reaffirms the Agency’s full trust in the CAF Group. This line is made up of four branches along more than 30 kilometres, being the first line built in the capital of Massachusetts. The line has tunnels dating back to the late 19th century, making it the first underground line in the United States.

Vehicle layout of the new Type 10 with a length of almost 35 meters I © MBTA Boston

The new units, called Type 10 and consisting of 7 modules, will replace the Type 7 and 8 models that provide service currently on the line. They will be 100% low-floor and will feature priority areas for passengers with reduced mobility, maximising vehicle capacity and accessibility. So far, MBTA used to operate six-axle trams which were operated in multiple units. Now, for the first time, MBTA will operate 35-meter long vehicles in multiple units. To do so, a total of 30 platforms on the lines B, C, D, E and the central subway will be extended. Also, the workshop has to be modified in order to accommodate the new fleet.

Comparison of the different vehicle types 8/9 vs the new type 10 I © MBTA Boston

Of the types 7 and 8, the following vehicles are currently still in operation:

  • Type 7, Manufacturer: Kinki Sharyo, built in 1986 – 88, No of trains: 83 (initially 100)
  • Type 7, Manufacturer: Kinki Sharyo, built in 1997, No of trains: 15 (initially 20)
  • Type 8, Manufacturer: Ansaldo Breda, buhlt in 1998 – 2007, No of trains: 92 (initially 95)

CAF in the USA

The railway company has been operating in the US market for many years. CAF has a production facility in the United States, located in Elmira (New York State), where a large number of US projects have been developed, including the supply of 96 Units to the Washington Metro, 130 passenger cars for Amtrak, trams for the cities of Kansas City and Cincinnati, as well as the supply of LRVs for Houston, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Boston.

CAF is currently active in the manufacture of the third order for new trams for the Kansas City tram network extension, as well as in the LRV project for the city of Maryland, including the manufacture of 26 LRVs for the Purple Line. This project incorporates also a stake in the company that will manage the operation and maintenance of the system for 30 years.

Source: CAF

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