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MBTA tests new Red Line train, the first of fleet expected to start running this fall

Crews work on one of the new Red Line trains expected to go into service by 2023.
Crews work on one of the new Red Line trains expected to go into service by 2023.Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

The first train in a new Red Line fleet was taken for a test run this week, and officials said it went off without a hitch.

The train operated between Braintree and Alewife stations for about three hours Wednesday night. MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said engineers reported “nothing out of the ordinary” with the train during the test.

The first of 252 new Red Line cars, which will expand the fleet by 34, will start running this fall, Pesaturo said. All new Red Line vehicles are expected to be in service by 2023.

Each car will have more handrails, larger interiors, wider doors, LED lighting systems, new visual and audio door open and closing warnings — along with other new communications systems — and two more accessibility areas.

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The new vehicles are a part of the MBTA’s five-year capital investment program. Through the program, which started in July 2018, the MBTA said it will spend $8 billion to rebuild subway lines, modernize fare collecting systems, remodel stations, and make other improvement to bus, subway, and ferry service.

“This work, including signal upgrades, a new test track and vehicle testing facility, and an upgraded yard and maintenance facility, will result in faster, more comfortable trips on the Red Line, as well as less crowding on platforms and in stations,” the MBTA wrote on its website.

The MBTA said it is spending $1 billion to replace vehicles on the Red and Orange lines.

The first of 152 new Orange Line trains rolled out last August . Since then, the new vehicles have been taken out of service several times mainly due to problems with the underbody of the cars.

The new Red and Orange Line cars are being produced by the Chinese-owned railcar manufacturer CRRC MA, Pesaturo said. The cars are partially built in China and assembled at the company’s factory in Springfield.

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Modifications that were made to fix issues on the new Orange Line cars have been added to the new Red Line cars, he said.

Pesaturo said another new train will go into service on the Orange Line within a week.

Caroline Enos can be reached at caroline.enos@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.