You may do a double take when a Green Line trolley scoots by you in September.
That’s when some of the 24 sleek, new trolleys will start riding the rails on the line’s four branches, nestled among the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) current fleet.
The new additions, showcased Wednesday when Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and transit authority leaders toured one trolley in Newton, may look similar to their aging counterparts, but new design features signal a departure from the existing trains that work the country’s oldest subway line.
They’ll serve the entire Green Line, but their introduction comes ahead of the start on significant construction this fall on an extension project that will bring the line into Somerville and Medford by the end of 2021, according to a press release from the MBTA. The additional cars were needed to serve the eventually larger system, the agency said.
Here are a few upgrades you may notice after tapping your CharlieCard and climbing aboard this fall:
More room for passengers
You could find yourself with a little more personal space during those cramped rush-hour commutes.
The new cars will have a 10 percent increase in passenger capacity thanks to the new design, MBTA officials said in the release.
While the number of seats isn’t changing from the standard 44 onboard existing cars, the extra space means there’s more standing room, and wider mid-sections will make it easier to squeeze your way through crowded cars, The Boston Globe reports.
T riders using wheelchairs and pushing strollers will be able to take advantage of new “bridge plates” — motorized ramps that will pop out of the train at the push of a button, MBTA officials said.
The new cars will also be equipped with modernized bridge plates that allow for easier boarding for wheelchairs, baby carriages, and other mobility devices. pic.twitter.com/PuHVqeeSQS
— Luis Manuel Ramírez (@LMRAMIREZGM) July 19, 2018
Additional upgrades include more accessible and priority seating, better and more speakers, and the fact that the new trolleys will ride lower to the ground, which will make stepping onto the train easier, among other improvements, the Globe reports.
Reliability enhancements and other gadgets
State and MBTA officials said the new trolleys could help make the system more reliable, as having the extra cars on hand will take the strain off of the current fleet.
Changes in the new design also means some hardware and equipment will require less maintenance, the release said.
The new cars on the rails are set to be the first T vehicles to include video screens, according to the Globe, which reports passengers will be able to check out the next stop and different advertisements on the monitors.
Sensors to count passengers onboard are also in the works, the newspaper said.
Doors will also slide open instead of pushing out, which should help reduce problems passengers can face while exiting or boarding, according to the release.
And a textured material will be the new seat upholstery, so those plastic-covered seats that left passengers sliding around will be obsolete, the Globe said.
“These new Green Line cars feature improvements for a more comfortable, more accessible commute,” MBTA General Manager Luis Ramírez said in a statement. “They include better access to priority seating, sliding doors, LCD destination monitors, more and better speakers, and more room. Coming in September when the first of twenty-four new cars goes into service, these new Green Line cars help give Green Line riders the commute they expect and deserve.”
We need a bigger fleet to run service to Medford & Somerville when the Green Line Extension (GLX) is complete. And that’s what these 24 new cars are for. pic.twitter.com/HvHNEKjfUQ
— MBTA (@MBTA) July 18, 2018
The new cars, which will be rolled out incrementally into next year, were created in both Spain and New York under a $118 million contract the MBTA has with CAF USA Inc., according to MBTA officials.
Other Green Line upgrades starting this September include track replacement and signal improvements on the D branch — one part of the Green Line Transformation Program’s $963.7 million first phase, according to the MBTA.