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CAF wins the order for Boston’s Type 10 ‘Supercars’

An artist's impression of the future Type 10 'Supercars' for Boston's Green line. MBTA

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) awarded CAF USA a USD810m contract to provide its next generation of Type 10 LRVs on 31 August. With the detailed design phase due to begin this year, the first of the 100% low-floor cars are expected to enter service on the Green line from Spring 2027.

The seven-section ‘Supercars’ will replace the Kinkisharyo Type 7 and AnsaldoBreda Type 8 LRVs dating from 1986-2007. CAF has already delivered 24 Type 9 cars for Boston’s Green line, but the Type 10 will be an all-new design from its factory in Elmira, NY (some bogie parts will be supplied from Spain).

Each 37.4m car will be 12m longer than the LRVs they will replace. The contract includes two driving simulators, spare parts and a three-year warranty, as well as options for further cars to give the MBTA the option of running coupled units in the future.

Four pilot cars will be delivered in 2026 with series production in 2027-31.

The contract announcement came shortly after the MBTA – which operates the four-line ‘T’ network in Boston – was issued with four ‘special directives’ for improvement, following a comprehensive Safety Management Inspection (SMI) by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The report follows a series of interim requirements issued in June.

The new directives cover managing the impact of operations, maintenance and capital project requirements on the existing workforce; prioritisation of safety management information; effectiveness of safety communication; and operating conditions, policies, procedures, and training.

The findings included that the agency “has not developed the necessary tools and capabilities to support the management of safety risk” and that the “combination of overworked staff and ageing assets has resulted in the organisation being overwhelmed, chronic fatigue for key positions in the agency, lack of resources for training and supervision, and leadership priorities that emphasise meeting capital project demands above passenger operations, preventive maintenance, and even safety.”

The FTA said that an analysis of safety data for January 2020-April 2022 showed that MBTA rates of derailments, and collisions and other safety incidents far exceed industry averages.