First Chinese-made MBTA cars to head to Boston in November

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CHANGCHUN, China — Chinese-made Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Orange Line cars are expected to depart for the U.S. Nov. 18.

Officials for CRRC MA — the Boston-based arm of the gigantic Chinese rail rolling stock and equipment supplier — say cars will first move from northeast China were they were made, to the major port city of Shanghai in the center of the country. The first four-car set made a public run in China on Monday with CRRC, Chinese government, and MBTA officials attending.

The cars are the first of a 404-car order for MBTA, 152 for the Orange Line and 252 for the Red Line, company officials say.

CRRC MA workers are also building a $95 million, 204,000 square foot assembly plant in Springfield, Mass., where the bulk of cars will be finished — though the final number built in the U.S. has yet to be announced.

“These state-of-the-art vehicles provide improved passenger comfort and incorporate technology,” says Jia Bo, CRRC MA vice president. “Including solid state microprocessors, LCD passenger information displays, CCTV cameras, platform gap mitigation, automatic passenger counting and computer-based training simulators.”
The company also has contracts to build cars for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and LA Metro.

A separate company, CRRC Sifang America, broke ground on a south Chicago assembly plant earlier this year. U.S. workers in that plant may build as many as 846 cars for Chicago CTA's elevated rail network.
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