SPRINGFIELD, MA—The first pair of the 404 next-generation rail vehicles built in the U.S. factory of Chinese rail car manufacturer CRRC here will soon be delivered to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for further tests before entering into service by the city of Boston in the coming months. The cars are set to replace the decades-old ones running on Boston's Orange Line.
Both cars feature air conditioning and heating units, physically challenged-friendly doors and a wheelchair area that can transform into regular seating with jump seats folding up and away. To ensure safe travels, the CRRC also equipped the cars with crash energy management, LCD passenger information displays and CCTV cameras, replete with next-generation technology.
The car shells were made in China, while the main pieces of equipment were made in the U.S. Meanwhile, companies from other nations investing here are also getting involved. The traction system was produced in the United States by Mitsubishi.
The plant opened in 2018 and employs 220 people. Its interior is big enough to hold three and one-half football fields. According to Domenic Sarno, mayor of Springfield, MA, the company "took a vacant or decrepit area and transform it to a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that I'd say would rival anything in the world for manufacturing rail cars."
CRRC's globalization strategy will soon expand in the United States. It hopes to have projects in Los Angeles and Philadelphia in 2020.