The Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) approved a $400.5 million contract to replace railcars and enhance safety components on Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration Metro SubwayLink system.
Kevin B. Quinn, Acting MTA Administrator, said the improvements to replace 78 railcars and the train control safety system will provide enhanced travel of MTA customers.
"Safety of our passengers and our workers is the most important element of our work," Quinn said. "Bringing these new, state-of-the-art railcars into service along with a new train control system under our BaltimoreLink plan are a key part of what we do to make travel safe and reliable."
The $400.5 million contract was awarded to Hitachi Ansaldo Baltimore Rail Partners.
MDOT MTA Metro SubwayLink service began service in 1983 and the railcars and train control system currently in use are 35 years old and at the end of their useful life. The operation of these outdated vehicles presents challenges in ongoing maintenance due to long lead times for spare or unavailable parts, which ultimately reduce the reliability of train service.
The replacement project will provide a fleet of 78 new railcars operating under a new state-of-the-art train control system.
The new railcars will be more reliable, more energy efficient, and provide enhanced passenger security and customer service capabilities. The new railcar motors are more energy efficient and require less maintenance.
The vehicles will also have environmentally friendly LED lighting and air conditioning refrigerant and new passenger information system that will provide riders with real-time travel information, both on-board and at passenger stations.
Train interiors will be more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing and will include bicycle tie-down areas. The cameras on-board the railcars will be viewable in real-time from by MTA Police and tie into MTA’s homeland security video surveillance system.
The new train control system will incorporate Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) technology. CBTC is widely used in Europe, has years of successful experience in North America, and is becoming the technology of choice among transit agencies.
The system allows precise automatic operation, allowing trains to operate at maximum allowable speeds under all conditions, providing for more consistent travel times. The system will provide MTA’s train dispatchers and maintainers with real-time performance and fault annunciation, reducing the time to restore normal operations during a system fault.