Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rotem Coaches Arrive in Boston

Courtesy: MassDOT
It took almost a year, but the four prototype Hyundai-Rotem bi-level coaches have finally arrived at the Boston Engine Terminal (BET) the MBTA's commuter rail maintenance facility. The coaches, which arrived by barge in New Bedford in January, have seen little to no use since their arrival, other than some static testing and a trip to Middleboro.

Now that they have finally made their way up to the BET, the MBTA can start their own testing process on the cars. The MBTA has said that after the coaches arrival at the BET on Wednesday, they will be inspected by Commuter Rail personnel and the testing process will begin thereafter.

The Rotem cars have come under a bit of controversy over the past few months. Setbacks by the Hyundai-Rotem company have caused the a big delay in the $190 Million order of 75 cars that the MBTA has with the company. It became such an issue that acting MBTA General Manager John Davis had to take a trip to Korea this past September to talk with executives at the company. It now looks as if everything is on track for the order and if there are no more hiccups, GM Davis says that the agency hopes to have the first of the coaches in revenue service by January of 2013. Davis also noted that the last coaches in the order should arrive in Boston by July of 2014.

One of the four prototypes being lifted off of a barge
in New Bedford MA.
Courtesy: City of New Bedford
It is rumored that these coaches will primarily serve the North Side commuter rail lines once in service. If the rumors are true, passengers on commuter rail trains leaving North Station should expect to see an increase in capacity, which will mean less over crowding during rush hours. The coaches will be fully equipped with electronic LED destination signs, pre-installed Wi-Fi (unlike the retrofitted aftermarket Wi-Fi that the MBTA installed on most of its coaches) and bathrooms.

It has also been rumored that once all of the Rotem coaches are in service the older 500 and 1500 series coaches will begin to be retired from revenue service. These coaches, which were built by Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB), were put into revenue service between 1987-88. The coaches have never seen a mid life overhaul and are steadily showing signs of their age. The MBTA did institute an in house re-building program for the cars (replacing floors and seating upholstery) so they would last until all of the Rotem Coaches enter service and the Kawasaki Bi-level overhaul is finished.

The first four prototype cars were built and assembled at Hyundai-Rotem's South Korean manufacturing facility. The remaining 71 coaches of the order , however, will be built at the company's new facility in Philadelphia. 

With new equipment comes more reliable service, modern amenities, and increased capacity, in a win-win situation for both the MBTA and its passengers.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Daniel, I am doing some research on this contract and wanted to ask you where you obtained your information. Also wanted to see if you could share it with me. It's been quite difficult to obtain it through the transit agency. Please email me if possible Thanks.


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