New Orange Line Cars Have Been Just a Few Months Away for Nearly a Year

As of June, Orange Line riders have a new mid-summer dream.

A new Orange Line car on a flatbed truck in early 2019. Courtesy of the MBTA.
A new Orange Line car on a flatbed truck in early 2019. Courtesy of the MBTA.

The Orange Line’s vehicles were built during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, between 1979 and 1980, and they are overdue for retirement.

In 2016, the T ordered new cars to replace aging fleets on the Orange and Red Lines (the new Orange Line vehicles are coming first, with the new Red Line cars scheduled to start rolling about a year later). The new cars are expected to reduce delays from mechanical problems and decrease crowding by putting more trains in service.

But like Achilles chasing a tortoise, every time we get close to a date when the new Orange Lines are due to start rolling, the T pushes that date further back.

A timeline:

July 2018: The MBTA announces that the first new cars would be in service “at the end of 2018.”

October 2018: At a board meeting, MBTA announces that the date for the first new cars has been pushed back to January. But things are going “really well.”

February 2019: We’re told that the new cars will be in business in “early spring.”

And in the latest update, from June 3, 2018, “early spring” has been replaced with “mid-summer.”

The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board’s mid-summer meeting is scheduled for July 22. We’ll have another update for you then.

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