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MBTA to introduce new Green Line ‘supercars’

Officials awarded a contract exceeding $810 million for the delivery of longer, safer, more accessible trains beginning in 2027.

A person boards a Green Line train at the Union Square station. Carlin Stiehl/Boston Globe

As the MBTA manages a massive Orange Line Shutdown and addresses the concerns laid out in a scathing federal report released this week, “super” is not a word many are associating with the agency behind America’s oldest subway system. But that could change over the next few years, at least when talking about the Green Line. 

MBTA leadership voted this week to authorize the construction and delivery of more than 100 new Green Line “supercars,” which officials say will significantly increase capacity and safety on the sprawling line. 

The agency’s board of directors awarded an over-$810 million contract to CAF USA Inc. for 102 cars, along with test equipment, special tools, training simulators and other resources employees will need to operate the new vehicles. 

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The type 10 supercars will replace outdated type 7 and 8 Green Line trains. The T estimates that the first supercars won’t be delivered and put into service until Spring 2026. At that time, four pilot vehicles will be delivered to Boston. Beginning in Spring 2027, the T hopes to put two supercars into service a month, continuing until 2031. 

The supercars will be 40 feet longer than the normal Green Line trains used today, MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told Boston.com. A 32-inch clear aisle will run down the center of each train. 

Wider door openings will heighten passenger capacity, boarding efficiency, and accessibility. The new trains will also be more accessible because of consistent low-floor boarding, which would eliminate the need for passengers to use stairs to board. Bridge plates will be available at all of the car’s double-leafed doors, and four priority areas will be set aside for riders using wheeled mobility devices. 

Unlike the current Green Line trains, the supercars will have full-width, closed operator’s cabins at each train end. The cars will require fewer employees to operate them, according to documents presented at a board meeting. This design also decreases the potential for operators to see “extraneous distractions,” Pesaturo said. 

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Besides safety and accessibility upgrades, the supercars will feature state-of-the-art technology, Pesaturo said. Special information screens will be placed throughout the trains to help passengers easily find their way through the complicated MBTA subway system.  

The latest crash-safety technology will be added to the cars, creating a safer experience for riders and employees. This year’s near-unprecedented inspection by the Federal Transit Administration was prompted by numerous, sometimes deadly safety incidents on the T. 

The project’s design phase is scheduled to begin this fall. Throughout this phase, designs will be finalized for upgrades to train yards, signal systems, and vehicle maintenance facilities. The first supercar simulator for training purposes is scheduled to be delivered by fall 2025. 

CAF will manufacture and assemble the cars and other components at its plant in Elmira, NY, and in another location in Spain. 

New type 9 Green Line cars went into service beginning in late 2018, also manufactured by CAF. In total, the company delivered 24 new train cars to the Green Line. 

The T has also tried to integrate new Orange Line trains in recent years. In June, battery issues caused the agency to pull all of these vehicles from service. In May, workers discovered that brake bolts on the trains had been improperly installed, and pulled cars to investigate the problem. 

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