New cars for Orange Line trains went into service Wednesday, in an expected boost for the embattled Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Gov. Charlie Baker and MBTA officials held a press conference at Wellington station in Medford to launch the six new cars.
"There's been a long wait for these kinds of carts to arrive," Baker said. "I think everyone will agree it's about time."
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The MBTA says the new additions are more spacious and have wider doors and updated safety features.
The entire line of 152 trains will be replaced over the next two years, adding 30,000 new seats to the system.
"We're going to be adding new trains incrementally. The next train set is going to go into service next month so customers are going to be seeing these trains more and more," MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said.
In addition to the new cars, the MBTA is working on a new signaling system while revamping the agency's maintenance facility.
"They say once all of that is done, the wait time between trains during rush hour will drop from 6 minutes to four and a half minutes," Poftak said.
The development comes two days after MBTA officials revealed that the Orange Line would see weekend station closures in October and November as part of a major acceleration of repair work on three MBTA lines.
That plan will bring closures to one of the Orange, Green or Red Lines almost every weekend from September through the end of the year.
The fleet of 152 new Orange Line vehicles is part of a $2 billion revamp ordered for it and the Red Line.
All Orange Line trains are expected to be replaced at the end of 2022 while Red Line replacements are expected to be completed at the end of 2023.