Beginning this fall, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will start work on a stretch of South Boston track that will be used for testing the new Red Line cars, which are scheduled to come from the production facility in Springfield beginning in 2019.
Upgrading of the track has a projected cost of $32 million and will commence in the fall after the MBTA solicits bids for the work and awards a contract.
The section of track, known as Track 61, is adjacent to Haul Road and meets the following requirements necessary for proper testing:
- no less than 1,800 feet of straight track for test runs;
- close proximity to the Red Line's maintenance facility;
- ability to move cars from the Red Line's maintenance facility to the test track with no impact on the main line; and
- additional storage for vehicles in close proximity to the test track.
The new Red Line trains will start serving customers after the cars are fully tested and approved by an MBTA engineering team. The MBTA ordered 252 new cars from the CRRC MA Corporation to replace the entire existing Red Line fleet by the end of 2023.
State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and State Representative Nick Collins recently took part in a site walk after being briefed by officials from the MBTA on the need for Track 61 as a test site. The area legislators and the MBTA agreed to schedule a public neighborhood meeting next month to share further details on the upgrades and listen to any feedback from the community.