The MBTA’s Red Line is getting ready for a major upgrade, officials announced Monday.
The line’s entire fleet of cars, some of which have been in operation since the mid-1970s, will cost $280 million to replace, but T officials said that’s less than the cost of an earlier plan to repair 84 cars.
In a media briefing, state Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said the newplan “represents an important difference” in the T’s philosophy for upgrading its aging infrastructure.
The move will save taxpayers $310,000per car over the repair efforts, and have a more greater long-term outcometo fully replace 120 to 134 Red Line cars, WCVB reported.
“It represents what we’ve been trying to do with the MBTA,” Pollack told State House News Service. “A different way of thinking, a different way of acting.”
Every train car in the Red Line’s fleet is slated to be replaced by 2023 under the new plan.A Chinese company, China Railroad Rolling Stock Corp.,is building a factory in Springfield to manufacture the cars, and is already contracted to replace the entire Orange Line fleet and more than 130 other Red Line cars.
The Fiscal Management Control Board’s decision came on the day of the first real snowfall of the season in Massachusetts.
The last time the Red Line’s fleet underwent an extensive replacement was 1994. Many of the fleet’s older cars have obsolete engines, which contributed to the massive delays seen systemwideduring the crippling blizzards of 2015.
Many of the stalled trains failed because their motors run on direct current — or DC — power, which breaks down easily in wet weather conditions. The new trains will havealternating current motors, which are more durable in inclement weather.