Daily News

Gov. Patrick Announces Plan to Build Subway Cars in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Deval Patrick announced on Tuesday that the MBTA will present to the board of the Mass. Department of Transportation (MassDOT) the recommended company to manufacture and deliver 284 new subway cars for the Red and Orange Lines, replacing decades-old vehicles.

Joined by MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey and MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott, as well as state and local officials, Patrick announced that the recommended company, CNR MA, will build a 150,000-square-foot facility in Springfield to assemble the vehicles, creating more than 250 new manufacturing and construction jobs in the region. The contract is pending approval by the MassDOT board, which is schedule to meet today to vote on the recommendation.

The contract with CNR MA will include the purchase of 152 new Orange Line vehicles and 132 new Red Line vehicles to replace the 44-year old Red Line cars and 32-year old Orange Line cars. The contract also includes the option to purchase an additional 58 Red Line cars. The new cars will provide improved reliability, accessibility, and energy efficiency. New car features include increased capacity and additional seating, wider and electrically operated doors, four accessible areas per car, LED lighting, modern HVAC systems, and advanced passenger-information and announcement systems.

“This is a critical investment in the future of public transportation in Greater Boston and in the economic well-being of Western Mass.,” said Patrick. “It will open up opportunities for the residents of the Pioneer Valley by creating quality construction and manufacturing jobs that will propel growth in the region for years to come.”

The design process will take approximately three years for the Orange Line cars and an additional 15 months for the Red Line. Pilot cars for the Orange Line are to be delivered in early 2018, and the Red Line pilot cars will be delivered about a year later. Delivery of production cars will occur at a rate of approximately four cars per month between winter 2018 and winter 2021 for the Orange Line and between fall 2019 and spring 2021 for the Red Line.

CNR MA intends to build a new manufacturing facility for final assembly of the Red and Orange Line vehicles at 655 Page Blvd. in Springfield. This facility will serve as CNR MA’s U.S. Headquarters. CNR MA plans to build a facility that includes more than 150,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space. The facility will also include a dynamic test track, which will enable testing prior to shipment of the vehicles to the MBTA. CNR MA plans to invest $60 million of its own resources into the facility. CNR MA estimates the new facility will create more than 150 new manufacturing jobs and 100 new construction jobs. Construction of the new plant is expected to begin in the fall of 2015.

“The awarding of this contract is the culmination of years of work and development by teams at MassDOT and the MBTA,” said Davey. “By making this important investment, and ensuring that it provides for new jobs and increases economic opportunity in Massachusetts, we are making a commitment to the future of sustainable, accessible public transit that is more reliable, more frequent, and better serves the needs of our Commonwealth.”

The new Orange Line cars will replace the entire current fleet that has an average of 1.5 million miles on them. On a typical weekday, the Orange Line fleet carries more than 200,000 people. The order will also increase the fleet size, allowing for increased passenger capacity and decreased passenger wait times by reducing headways from six minutes to four during rush hour. The Red Line order will replace the current fleet of ‘No. 1’ cars, and the additional contract option would allow for replacement of the 27-year old ‘No. 2’ cars. The ‘No. 1’ cars have an average of 2.3 million miles, and the ‘No. 2’ cars an average of 1.4 million miles; these cars currently run on the Red Line, which serves an average of 272,000 customers on a typical weekday.

“Today marks an important step in improving the daily commutes of hundreds of thousands of our MBTA customers,” said Scott. “By replacing the aging fleets of Red and Orange Line cars, we will be able to reduce travel and wait times, increase capacity, and improve accessibility, security, and the overall experience for our customers.”

The total project budget is approximately $1.3 billion, and includes the funds necessary to expand and improve the MBTA’s rail-car maintenance and storage facilities in Medford and Boston. Made possible by the passage of the Transportation Finance Law last year, the Orange and Red Line car-procurement project is funded entirely by state transportation bond funds. The request for proposals was released a year ago, and six companies submitted proposals. Of the six proposals, four of them met the minimum requirements and were rated on criteria including technical and manufacturing experience, past performance, quality assurance, and price. CNR MA submitted the lowest bid at $556.6 million.