5 takeaways from new Orange Line car

5 takeaways from new Orange Line car

Smile, you’re on the T’s candid camera

MBTA OFFICIALS on Tuesday unveiled a three-quarters mockup of the 152 new Orange Line cars that are on order and due to start arriving at the end of this year. The wheel-less mockup allows operators, mechanics, riders, and other stakeholders to explore the vehicle and report any problems that need to be corrected. Here are five takeaways from the tour:

DOORS –The doors, at 64 inches wide, are 16 inches wider than the existing train doors on the Orange Line, so passengers will be able to get on and off much faster.  The doors are also better for wheelchair-bound riders because they come equipped with extensions that pop out from underneath the train that fill the gap between the rail car and the platform.

INTERIOR – The cars are the same width as the existing cars, but they seem roomier. Seats are made of slick plastic, which is utilitarian. Some seats flip up out of the way so someone with a stroller could fit in more easily. The cars also come equipped with screens that inform riders the destination of the train and the next station on the route. “It’s pretty clear this vehicle isn’t 45 years old,” said Gov. Charlie Baker, referring to the existing Orange Line cars, after taking a tour of the mockup at the Wellington MBTA facility in Medford.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

FASTER SERVICE – The Orange Line cars are expected to hold more passengers comfortably than the existing cars, but more importantly their braking and propulsion systems will allow the new cars to stop and start more quickly. That ability will allow the trains to come into stations at 4.5-minute intervals, which will boost overall capacity on the Orange Line by 40 percent and reduce the number of crowded trains.

PASSENGER COUNTERS – The T has a big problem tracking how many people use its system. The new Orange Line cars come equipped with two infrared beams in the door systems that track by heat signature who is getting on and off. One official said even babies and pets will be counted with the new system.

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING – Surveillance cameras in each car will allow T officials in the central command center to monitor passengers inside vehicles in real time.