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New Orange Line trains are ‘on the move’


Standby, riders: the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s new Orange Line trains will be arriving soon.

On Tuesday, the transit agency released video that showed a few of the flashy train cars — the exterior paint job steers clear of what the current trains look like — cruising along a track in Changchun, China, where they were built.

“First pair of new #MBTA #OrangeLine cars are on the move,” T officials boasted while tweeting the video, which included the familiar screech of a train pulling into a station.

The two cars featured in the video will be part of the pilot Orange Line train that is expected to be shipped to the United States later this year, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.


The MBTA said “hundreds more” of the trains will be built in Massachusetts, at a facility in Springfield that opens this week.

In 2014, the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., or CRRC, won a bid to build 152 new Orange Line cars and 132 Red Line cars. All 284 cars are expected to be delivered by 2022. In December last year, the T’s fiscal control board voted to buy an additional 120 Red Line cars from the same company.

The first six Orange Line pilot cars will arrive in December, and undergo “rigorous testing and inspection procedures” before they hit the tracks, according to Luis Ramirez, the MBTA’s new general manager and chief executive.

“The delivery of the pilot cars represents an important milestone in the procurement of an entirely new Orange Line fleet,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

This isn’t the first time the MBTA has teased riders with a sneak peek of what’s to come, as the agency looks to improve people’s daily commutes.

In May, the T placed a two-thirds-size replica of the new Orange Line train cars on City Hall Plaza for three days, and let customers step inside and explore the vehicle’s interior. The mockup was shipped from China in early January, complete with seats and straps that people could test out in person.


The new train cars will be packed with technology and design upgrades, including more comfortable seats, wider doors, and computer screens to provide route information.

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.