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T will take 10 new cars for its busy Green Line

Email|Print| Text size + By Noah Bierman
Globe Staff / November 12, 2007

After fighting for a decade with an Italian company that MBTA officials once accused of supplying defective Green Line trolleys, the T said yesterday that it has solved past problems and will take an additional 10 cars from the company.

For riders on the T's most-crowded line, that will mean more trains available for service, resulting in fewer delays, said Daniel A. Grabauskas, general manager of the MBTA.

"It's easily the largest fleet size in the last 25 years, maybe ever," Grabauskas said.

The first of the new trains went into service last week. Once the T gets the last of 10 new cars, by the middle of next year, it will have a total of 209 cars to carry the 200,000 passengers who ride the Green Line each weekday.

Green Line trains typically have two cars. The line's branches extend into Jamaica Plain, Brookline, and Newton.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority signed a $222 million contract in 1995 with an Italian company now known as AnsaldoBreda to provide the trains. The company was supposed to deliver 100 "Breda" cars, but T officials halted delivery of the trains in 2004 after frequent breakdowns and a $50 million lawsuit from AnsaldoBreda over the terms of the contract.

T officials have fumed over the years that it was their worst purchase ever. The sides settled in 2005 and agreed to work together to put 85 trains back on the tracks, using the remaining train parts as spares. The cars are assembled in Littleton.

Grabauskas said the Breda trains, which are lower to the ground and easier for disabled riders to use, have been performing well, and both sides agree they can use most of the spare parts to assemble more new trains. Grabauskas said the $222 million contract has not been paid off because Breda trains have not been in service long enough to determine whether they meet long-term performance standards specified in the 2005 settlement.

Grabauskas was out of the office yesterday, and T officials could not say how much the company is owed. The 10 newest cars will not cost the T more than it has already agreed to pay.

The T deploys 150 trains on the Green Line during rush hour; the rest of the fleet is used for spare cars during breakdowns and scheduled maintenance.

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