MBTA board approves $811m contract for 102 new Green Line supercars

Poftak says Orange Line work on schedule, rules out shutdown of entire Red Line

THE MBTA board of directors on Wednesday approved an $811 million contract to purchase 102 new Green Line vehicles that are each capable of carrying as many passengers as the 1980s-vintage, two-car trains they are replacing.

The new supercars are expected to start arriving in the spring of 2027 with the last car’s delivery set for 2031. The vehicles have flat floors, eliminating the steps of the current vehicles, and can be driven by one driver instead of the current two.

Separately, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak told the board that Orange Line repairs are proceeding on schedule and explained why the month-long shutdown of the line was rushed out quickly. He also dismissed rumors that the entire Red Line will be shut down this winter but warned that partial shutdowns of lines will probably happen somewhat frequently going forward.

The new Green Line cars are manufactured by CAF USA, a subsidiary of a Spanish company of the same name. CAF builds its vehicles in Spain and assembles them in the US at a plant in Elmira, New York. CAF is the same company that built the 24 Green Line cars purchased for the Green Line expansion into Medford and Somerville.

The supercars are 114 feet long, while the Green Line vehicles they are replacing are each 74 feet long.

Jeffrey Gonneville, the deputy general manager of the MBTA, said the supercars mark a major move into the future for the Green Line and will complement the new vehicles on the Red and Orange Lines.

On a day when the Federal Transit Administration released a report suggesting the MBTA is too fixated on big-ticket infrastructure projects and vehicle contracts and not focused enough on operations and maintenance, board member Travis McCready said it’s not an either-or situation for the T.

T officials said the major capital expenditure for new Green Line vehicles will promote safety by replacing old vehicles with dated technology with new ones that have more safety features and do away with steps that can be dangerous for passengers.

Poftak said the improvements on the Orange Line during the one-month shutdown are on schedule, with 48 percent of the overall work done on day 12 of the 30-day shutdown. He said 56 of the 60 new Orange Line cars needed to provide the bulk of service on September 19 are ready and one of the line’s six slow zones (between Downtown Crossing and State Street) has been eliminated.

The general manager said crews were able to replace 39 feet of track a night under the old system of doing work only at night, while the one-month shutdown allowed the T to replace 900 feet of track over two days.

Poftak also shot down rumors that the T intends to shut down the entire Red Line this winter. That’s not true, Poftak said, although he said shutdowns of parts of lines would become more frequent in the future.

Poftak said he regrets the lack of advance notice everyone received about the Orange Line shutdown. He said he would have preferred to shut down service in August, but he said the quick turnaround on the August-September shutdown was necessary because the 180 buses the T secured to provide replacement service wouldn’t have been available again until late October.