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First new Green Line cars may debut in Sept.

Governor Charlie Baker got a tour of the new Green Line trolley at Riverside Station.
Governor Charlie Baker got a tour of the new Green Line trolley at Riverside Station.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

From a distance the new trolleys coming to the Green Line will look a lot like the old ones.

But up close, they are sleeker and roomier and have new gadgets, such as video screens and sensors to count passengers.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority showed the first of the new trolleys, called Type 9, on Wednesday to Governor Charlie Baker and other officials at Riverside Station, at the end of the D Line. The authority bought 24 new cars in conjunction with the Green Line expansion project, but the first of the new vehicles will make their way onto existing Green Line tracks in September.

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The new cars will allow the MBTA to “flex the system,” Baker said, allowing older trains that need repairs to be taken out of service.

Governor Charlie Baker got a tour of the new Green Line trolley at Riverside Station.
Governor Charlie Baker got a tour of the new Green Line trolley at Riverside Station.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

The updated cars feature more room for passengers, better accessibility, and more-advanced technology. Although the new trains have the same number of seats, 44, they will accommodate about 10 percent more passengers because of additional standing room. The rails standees can hold onto will be bright yellow, instead of chrome.

“It’s meant to improve the visibility,” said Nicole Mason, technical project manager at the MBTA. “But I also think the color brightens the look of the car.”

Another small but important touch: Seats will be covered with a textured material instead of smooth plastic, so passengers won’t slide around.

And the vehicles’ mid-sections, potential chokepoints during crowded rides, will be slightly wider, which should make it easier to move through the train.

Outside, the trains will feature the same shade of MBTA green, but the accent color will be silver, not white.

The interior of one of the new Green Line trolleys.
The interior of one of the new Green Line trolleys.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

The doors will slide open, as on subway cars, rather than push out, as they do now.

The new trolleys will also ride lower, making it easier to step from a station platform into the car. Each one will have an automated orange ramp for wheelchair passengers and people pushing strollers that can be activated by a blue button to the side of the doors.

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“The Green Line is the most challenging part of the system for accessibility,” said state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.

The new cars will have the same interior signs alerting riders to the next stop, and the first video screens on T vehicles. One will display the next station, and the other will show advertisements.

The Spanish construction company CAF was commissioned to build the new cars. Designing them was a four-year process, said chief executive Andres Arizkorreta, because Green Line cars traverse numerous different environments.

MBTA instructor Ed Bezzati, who trains motormen, waited in the new train while Governor Charlie Baker spoke to the media after he received a tour of the new Green Line trolley at Riverside Station.
MBTA instructor Ed Bezzati, who trains motormen, waited in the new train while Governor Charlie Baker spoke to the media after he received a tour of the new Green Line trolley at Riverside Station. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

On Wednesday, Bessie Harris, a driving instructor and 26-year MBTA employee, drove the new train for a brief test trip from Riverside to Waban and back. Of the new features for drivers, Harris especially appreciates a better monitor that provides specific alerts when something goes wrong, she said.

“This monitor will tell you what the problem is and where,” Harris said. “Before, it was more of a process of elimination.”

The one new trolley is still being tested on Green Line tracks, but MBTA officials expect to ease the first of the new cars into service by September, with the remaining cars arriving periodically through early 2019.


Emily Williams can be reached at emily.williams@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.