Alstom wins Baltimore LRV overhaul contract

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

Alstom Transport Life Services, Alstom’s maintenance business in North America, has been awarded a $150 million contract by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to overhaul and modernize Baltimore’s fleet of 53 light rail vehicles.

The first major step in the modernization process involves dynamic testing on a few trains to base-line their current performance. The results of these tests will be used to document improved performance of the LRVs after renovation. The next step after testing is to remove all interior and exterior components from each car and address any necessary carbody repairs. Alstom will then re-equip each train with new propulsion systems, onboard ATC (automatic train control) technology, closed circuit TVs (CCTV), climate control units, and new doors, seating, and carpets. To minimize impacts on MTA riders, a maximum of five trains at a time will be removed from service. The overhaul program will last approximately four years, with the last overhauled vehicle returning to Baltimore in May 2018. The LRVs are scheduled to arrive beginning in October 2013 at Alstom’s Hornell, N.Y., facility, where the refurbishment will be done. The project will add about 15 years to LRVs’ lifespan.

This overhaul is one of several projects the State of Maryland is implementing as part of an ambitious program to improve the safety, reliability, and service of its transportation systems. The first Baltimore LRVs were manufactured some 25 years ago by ABB Traction, and the fleet carries nearly 28,000 riders a day between downtown Baltimore and BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport.

This is the fourth major U.S. fleet renovation project awarded to Alstom in the past two years. Together with the overhaul of Philadelphia’s PATCO rapid transit fleet, and light rail and commuter fleets for Boston’s MBTA, the company has booked more than $500 million in modernization projects.

“We are delighted that MTA has entrusted Alstom with the renovation of Baltimore’s light rail fleet,” said Alstom Transport North America President Guillaume Mehlman. “Our team is dedicated to the success of this project and to providing an enjoyable journey for riders who depend on these vehicles. We also are very excited and eager to support the innovative approaches Maryland is pursuing to expand light rail transit in the state.”

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