Baltimore Subway to get new railcars for the first time in 4 decades

September 23, 2023 by No Comments

The Maryland Transit Administration recently unveiled the inaugural unit of a forthcoming fleet of 78 brand-new railcars set to serve passengers along the 15.4-mile Metro SubwayLink route in the coming years.

These fresh Hitachi trains are poised to take over the role of the current 100 railcars currently in operation on Baltimore’s single heavy rail subway line, which was inaugurated back in 1983 and has been operating with its original railcars since that time. The transition to the new railcars will occur in a phased manner, with six railcars slated for service by the conclusion of 2024, and the entire replacement process expected to conclude by the close of 2026, according to the short-term improvement plan outlined by the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board.

The original set of 100 railcars for the Metro system was procured with the anticipation of future expansion, as conveyed by an MTA spokesperson via email. As part of the retirement process, some of the original railcars have already been taken out of service. The MTA has indicated that the acquisition of 78 new railcars will adequately maintain the existing service level for the Metro line.

An interesting feature of the new railcars is their ability to generate electricity while braking, which will power various onboard systems such as climate control and video surveillance. Any excess power generated will be fed back into the system.

The cost of this railcar overhaul project, as outlined in the state’s draft Consolidated Transportation Program (Maryland’s list of transportation capital projects for a six-year period), is estimated to be around $544 million. A significant portion of this funding is derived from Federal Transit Administration grants, with the remainder covered by the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.

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