After so many years of delay, the MBTA finally has something to show for the Green Line extension.
The first of 24 new Green Line cars has arrived in Massachusetts for testing and is expected to join the Green Line fleet this summer, with a second car expected later this spring. More trolleys are expected to arrive through 2018 and 2019, said Jeff Gonneville, the T’s deputy general manager.
Purchased as part of the $2.3 billion light rail expansion through Somerville, the new trolleys will go into service on existing Green Line branches. After several false starts, the extended line from Lechmere is slated to open in late 2021.
And since the new trolleys will be into service long before they’re running to Tufts University or Union Square, that will allow the MBTA to take others out of service for maintenance without losing capacity on the system.
The new trolleys, known as “Type 9,” differ slightly from existing Green Line cars: They can fit about 10 percent more passengers, and inside they have bright yellow handrails, intended for better visibility, for passengers to hold onto, compared with the usual chrome. Also, the doors open by sliding to the side rather than pushing outward, which should be less disruptive for passengers on platforms.
The Green Line cars are being built by Spanish company CAF for $175 million, with the shells made in Europe before being shipped to Elmira, N.Y., for final assembly.
They come as the Red and Orange lines prepare for a full replacement of the subway fleet over the next five years. Most of the estimated 400 subway cars will be built in Springfield, with the first new Orange Line car set to enter service late this year.Adam Vaccaro can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.