Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has opened a $22 million test track and vehicle commissioning facility for its new Red Line fleet, due to begin service in 2024.
The new facility will give MBTA “flexibility and control over the testing process and will allow a faster rollout of the new fleet” of rapid transit cars from CRRC, according to the agency.
MBTA expects to commission the first production vehicles here before the end of the winter, with an increase in deliveries through 2022. CRRC was awarded the 252-Red Line car contract in 2014, with manufacturing taking place at its Springfield, Mass., plant; one train is already in service.
The vehicle test track and facility project, completed in December, included replacing one mile of freight tracks with Red Line-compatible tracks and a third rail, installing a new mobile traction power substation with improved data connectivity, and constructing a new vehicle testing facility. It was implemented under the Red Line Transformation Program, part of MBTA’s $8 billion, five-year capital investment program that began July 1, 2018.
The new test track is adjacent to Cabot Yard and Maintenance Facility (near Broadway Station), which MBTA said would allow easy access for vehicle deliveries and testing without interfering with regular maintenance or competing for access on the main line. (Cabot Yard is currently being upgraded under a $243 million contract; the work is now 30% complete and is expected to be completed in summer 2023.)
“The installation of the new test track and testing facility enables the timely commissioning of new Red Line vehicles as part of the MBTA’s plan to increase capacity and improve reliability on the Red Line,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said.
“The completion of this project brings our team one step closer to delivering state-of-the-art, more reliable vehicles to our Red Line ridership.” MBTA Chief of Capital Transformation Angel Peña noted.