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.
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.
July 2018: The MBTA announces that the first new cars would be in service “at the end of 2018.”
First up, the new Orange Line vehicles.
Testing continues on the first four pilot cars. We’ll have a total of 152 new cars by the end of 2021.
The first full train-set (6 cars) will go into service at the end of 2018, with more to come in 2019. pic.twitter.com/VVg6Hm4Ge7
— MBTA (@MBTA) July 10, 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.”
New MBTA Orange Line car manufacturing going really well. T DGM Gonneville tells FMCB new car tests “very exciting” results & first of new cars should be in revenue service in January pic.twitter.com/aw8fQy2Wft
— Jacquelyn Goddard (@JacqueGoddard) October 1, 2018
February 2019: We’re told that the new cars will be in business in “early spring.”
Today, for the first time, a new #MBTA Orange Line train was tested during regular service hours. The first new train is expected to enter passenger service in early spring. pic.twitter.com/4F2bHD8vCw
— MBTA (@MBTA) February 8, 2019
And in the latest update, from June 3, 2018, “early spring” has been replaced with “mid-summer.”
MBTA is "ahead of hopeful" and "confident" that a key assessment of the software issues keeping new Orange Line cars off the tracks will be complete by July and the cars will enter service "mid-summer," says deputy GM Jeff Gonneville.
— Adam Vaccaro (@adamtvaccaro) June 3, 2019
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.