Metro staff recommends contract for purchase of new light rail cars

As Metro greatly expands its rail network in Los Angeles County in the next few years, the agency has also been working to purchase new rail cars.

After a lengthy proposal process, Metro staff is recommending a $299-million contract with Kinkisharyo International LLC— a firm based in Westwood, Mass. — for the purchase of 78 new light rail vehicles. In addition, the proposed contract includes four options for the purchase of an additional 157 light rail cars for $591 million.

Two other firms proposed on the project. The Metro Board of Directors are scheduled to consider the contract at their Systems Safety and Operations committee meeting on Thursday, March 15 (noon) and at the full Board meeting on Thursday, March 22 (9 a.m.). Both meetings are at Metro headquarters adjacent to Los Angeles Union Station.

The base order and option rail cars are planned for use on the Expo Line, Gold Line Foothill Extension, Crenshaw Line and Blue Line, which has several 69 vehicles due to be retired later in this decade. Although the design of the interiors of the new cars has not been finalized, many of the seats in the new cars will be wider than the new rail cars that debuted on the Gold Line in recent years. There will also be efforts made to maximize extra space for bikes in the rail cars.

One of the criteria looked at by Metro staff was the ability of the contractor to generate jobs in the United States. As part of its proposal, Kinkisharyo committed to creating new U.S. jobs totaling nearly $98 million in wages and benefits — primarily by establishing a new rail car production facility in the U.S.

After the jump are a few more renderings of the light rail vehicles.

 

 

27 replies

  1. New Cars seem to be similar to the cars of the Seattle Link.. I was surprised Metro didn’t go with Siemems.. Wonder What proposals they probably had

  2. Are these preliminary/draft renderings? What I mean is will the actual trains look better than this? You know less cartoonish. Also will the production facility be in Massachusetts?

    • Yes, these are early renderings. I think the trains look sharp. I don’t know where exactly different components will be assembled — I expect that will be discussed by the Board. The staff report linked to in the post has more details — please read.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. I would imagine they will be similar to the cars used here in Seattle (and their sisters in Phoenix) … however they are high-floor cars … and therefore will be somewhat different (namely they will be single articulated as opposed to ours which are double-articulated)

  4. I hope these cars won’t be as light as the Siemens P2000. Those are by far the WORST LRT we have. They have always had a rough ride feel and now they creak so loud one would expect the car to fall apart.
    The original Kinkisharyo for the Blue Line still ride like on air, and, although the Breda LRT’s were delivered heavier than ordered, those cars in fact ride smooth and they are stable and smooth at higher speeds. Perhaps the weight is major factor because the P2000’s are JUNK. Let’s hope the A/C for the new Kinkisharyo aren’t as loud as on the Breda’s nor Metrolinnk’s Hyundai-Rotem “Guardian Fleet.”

    I don’t think the renderings look that close to the Kinkisharyo models for Seattle’s Link at all. Quite a different look inside and out.

  5. I can understand expanding the cars for more service, but why get rid of the old trains that have been in use for less than thirty years? Is it because of efficiency, or space? It just seems like an awful waste. Could metro also work on painting the entire fleet grey like the gold line trains?

  6. Kinkisharyo cars & design are of high-quality intelligently planned and thoughtfully detailed that is the reason Massachusetts still has cars used on there green line that are 35 years old with no issues, unlike the last Mnf. of green line cars.

  7. You know, these look pretty cool! And the headlight configuration does look like the LRVs used in Seattle. It’s disappointing though that the Bredas apparently have so many issues. I personally like their design though but when riding the Bredas it seems like their acceleration is slow compared to the Siemens or Nippon LRVs. It will be interesting to see how smoothly and nimbly these new trains run.

  8. I wish we would have started our light rail system (the blue line) with low floor access and Eliminate the need for platforms. Does anyone know why we chose the taller entrance trainsets instead of the lower ones? Either way I’m WAAAAY excited about this 🙂 can’t wait to see these bad boys roll down the Crenshaw line and into the valley via the sepulveda pass cooridor 🙂

  9. I’m going to venture a guess: LA Metro wanted to have level boarding on its vehicles but the first LA light rail line was built in the days before low floor vehicles. Level boarding is the best choice for fast loading and unloading since there is no need for steps or ramps. LA had had to design the system with high platforms to meet the high-floor vehicle. Note, all heavy-rail subways feature high-floor, high-platform boarding.

    IMO LA Metro made the best choice. It gives the cars a less cluttered, uniform, & open interior free of bulkheads, stairs, and railings while providing the highest level of service in regards to boarding. Seattle’s Link Light Rail (100% Kinkisharyo) might be the only other LRT system to feature level boarding system-wide, but the interiors are really much more chaotic and less efficient inside to accommodate for the low floor arrangement. Seattle could have gone high-floor, high-platform for its system, but due to joint bus operations in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, the vehicles had to be low floor.

  10. High floors had to do with accessibility, Low floors are not as convenient as they might seem. San Diego Trolley is even going to raise their platforms for their newer fleet. Besides our light rail system isn’t built to be like the trolley like streetcar running systems even though some of our system runs on streets we want it to not be tempted to do so.

    The cars themselves look really good (a mix of all the light rail vehicles we have had), but the inside (while not final) needs an overhaul. As our light rail lines have become really long, we need comfortable interiors. The seat designs have never been a favorite of mine. I preferred the Newer bus seat deigns. Also for bikes the space for them should be by the doors rather than the middle as during rush hour it can be difficult to get the bikes quickly on and off.

  11. Awesome news! Though the real treat would be a standardized livery throughout the system, maybe even an homage to the Pacific Electric…

  12. Why cant we order more of the old blue line trains. these new trains that the gold line has are smaller and dont have outlets to charge phones, and they dont look good. Why cant we keep the old fashioned look?

  13. Looks nice, but I really wish they could alter the cross seat positioning to longitudinal positions to increase aisle space. The rail cars are getting crowded as gas prices rise so we need every extra inch of space to accommodate more passengers.

  14. […] The Source reports that Metro staff has recommended the agency sign contract with a Massachusetts-based light rail car producer for at least 78 rail cars and possibly up to 235. The cars would be used on the forthcoming Expo Line, Gold Line Foothill Extension, and Crenshaw Line, and on the Blue Line, which is set to retire 69 cars “later in this decade.” According to The Source, “Although the design of the interiors of the new cars has not been finalized, many of the seats in the new cars will be wider than the new rail cars that debuted on the Gold Line in recent years. There will also be efforts made to maximize extra space for bikes in the rail cars.” As part of the contract, the company would have to open a new production facility in the US. The Metro Board of Directors will consider the contract at a committee meeting next week and at a board meeting the week after. · Metro staff recommends contract for purchase of new light rail cars [The Source] […]

  15. K-S has worked very well in Dallas. There the original high-floor cars have been retrofitted with a third level-boarding center section. All station platforms have been reworked to add raised level-boarding areas.

  16. The Blue Line cars could be preserved. Industry standard is for rail cars to operate for 40 years with a mid-life rhabilitation. the Red Line cars are slated for such a strip down re-build but over the past few years Metro has gone back and forth on whether the Blue Line cars should also be get a mid-life. Looks like they have decided not to. Wonder if some other light rail operator buys them from us. They are very well designed sturdy vehicles. I thknk we are making a mistake not doing a mid-life on them.

  17. […] The Source reports that Metro staff has recommended the agency sign contract with a Massachusetts-based light rail car producer for at least78 rail cars and possibly up to 235. The cars would be used on the forthcoming Expo Line, Gold Line Foothill Extension, and Crenshaw Line, and on the Blue Line, which is set to retire 69 cars “later in this decade.” According to The Source, “Although the design of the interiors of the new cars has not been finalized, many of the seats in the new cars will be wider than the new rail cars that debuted on the Gold Line in recent years. There will also be efforts made to maximize extra space for bikes in the rail cars.” As part of the contract, the company would have to open a new production facility in the US. The Metro Board of Directors will consider the contract at a committee meeting next week and at a board meeting the week after.   […]

  18. THANK GOD they’ll be wider than the ones in use on the Gold Line! Sure, they look clean and nice from the outside, but that doesn’t give a clue as to how little room there is once the doors open. Too many aisle-facing seats is the problem.