Metro unveils new Kinkisharyo pilot rail car

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Metro unveiled the first of 78 Kinkisharyo P3010 rail cars this morning. The first pilot car will be used for testing to ensure it is fully compatible with Metro’s system and that there are no safety or technical issues before the remaining cars are delivered.

If all goes according to plan, Metro will receive its first production car in the summer of 2015. That car will be used for testing and training on the Metro Expo Line Phase II and Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension, and then placed in service when the two lines open in 2016. All 78 cars are expected to be in service by January 2017.

Take a brief tour on the pilot car with this video:

Source writers Anna and Joe, both transit system connoisseurs, were able to take a tour inside the pilot car this morning. Their thoughts:

Joe: The first thing I noticed when I got on the train were the blue floor decals and blue seat designs that marked the disabled/priority seating areas. I’ve seen the blue seat design on our new buses and they’re hard to miss. There’s no doubt that this area is reserved for passengers with special needs and you should be prepared to move if you’re sitting in one of the seats.

I also see potential for the monitors that were located at the front and rear of the train. If they’re ultimately used for something informational such as digital signage, it would be an excellent and efficient use of the space.

Anna: Love the shiny new yellow, it’s very eye-catching. The seat arrangement also makes the train car feel more spacious, and more similar to the Nippon Sharyo cars on the Blue/Expo Line. I agree with Joe on the designated priority seats and can’t wait to see them in use. Not sure how I feel about the emergency door open handle being lower and located on the car wall behind the priority seating. On the one hand, it’s more accessible, which is good in case of emergency. But on the other, it’s located behind priority seating…which is reserved for those who may have mobility issues.

Thing I love the most? The extra large decal showing where the designated bicycle/luggage/stroller area is. It’s impossible to miss and makes it super easy for bicyclists to know where to go when they bring bikes on board.

Keep reading after the jump for the press release on the pilot car from Metro:

The news release from Metro:

To continue unprecedented growth in public transportation in the region and to fulfill the promise made to voters when they passed Measure R in 2008, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) today unveiled the first of 78 light rail cars for use on the expanding Metro Rail system.

The first pilot car was delivered on time by Kinkisharyo International, which will assemble all light rail vehicles for the Metro order in Palmdale, Calif.

“This pilot car is the vanguard of our expanding rail fleet. It will undergo extensive testing over a period of months and the results will be passed on to Kinkisharyo for analysis before moving forward with Metro’s initial order of 78 production vehicles,” said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The base order of 78 rail cars was augmented after Metro exercised an option to purchase an additional 97 vehicles for a total cost of $739 million. Metro has two more options pending for an additional 60 rail vehicles. All cars in the base order of 78 are destined for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa and the Metro Expo Line Phase II extension to Santa Monica that are currently under construction with expected completion by summer 2016. The option cars will be used on the Metro Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line and the Metro Blue Line.

“Kinkisharyo has an excellent on-time performance and the company has committed to delivering the first production unit by summer 2015,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “All 78 vehicles in the base order are scheduled to be in service by January of 2017.”

The El Segundo-based Kinkisharyo International, the U.S. arm of Kinki Sharyo Co. LTD or Osaka, Japan, was awarded a contract by Metro in August 2012. The rail cars are partially constructed in Japan and shipped to Kinkisharyo’s facility in Palmdale for final assembly in compliance with Buy America contract provisions. An estimated workforce of 250 persons will be hired in the Antelope Valley to meet Metro’s order.

“Today’s delivery of the first light rail vehicle under the P3010 program demonstrates Kinkisharyo’s continuing commitment to giving Los Angeles cars that are high quality, on time, on weight, and on budget, and will serve L.A. County transit riders for decades to come,” said Teiji Tani, president of Kinkisharyo International, LLC.  “We have forged a strong partnership with Metro, and we expect that this contract will further our reputation as the best light rail vehicle manufacturer in America.”

Purchase of the rail cars and expansion of the Gold and Expo lines are largely funded by Los Angeles County Measure R, a half-cent sales tax passed by 2 million voters in 2008, with additional funding from state and federal sources. Currently, Metro Rail has 88 miles of track with 80 stations and has an average of 360,000 weekday boardings. In addition to the extension of the Gold and Expo Lines, Metro is currently in construction on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line and the Downtown Light Rail Regional Connector with the Purple Line Extension to Westwood set to begin construction soon. Also, Metro is currently in the midst of a multi-year overhaul of the Blue Line that connects Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The Kinkisharyo P3010 is a highly advanced stainless steel vehicle specifically designed to support Metro’s complex system expansion requirements. It is a 6-axle articulated design that seats 68 persons and is capable of operating on all Metro’s existing light rail lines.

31 replies

    • I ride the Red Line everyday they arn’t that dirty and they don’t break down all the time. But I remember reading a couple months ago on this blog that they started the process to buy new cars for when the Purple lines opens. The current Red Line trains will be with us for at least another 10-15 years.

    • There was a motion at a metro board meeting earlier this year to begin the procurement process for new HRT vehicles. It’s a long ways off though. I would be more curious to see when there would be a mid-life overhaul of the Breda cars. Similar to what the original Blue-line cars received. I agree with you, the red line cars have seen better days.

    • I ride the Red and Purple lines 3 times a day and have never seen them “break down”. Not once.

      • I agree, never once broken down. If you havent figured by now, the source is where readers come to let out anger and complain regardless of what the story is relating.

    • Its dirty people (Homeless, Punks, Kids, Gangs, Slobs) that make the cars and buses dirty. their rotten parents should be slapped very very very hard for not teaching them to respect others property

      • The capitalist system should be slapped very very hard for giving the urban poor very little chance to raise their standard of living, leading to absent parents (working multiple jobs) and the influence of gangs in the lives of poor children, bad influences that lead to “messy” adults later on.

      • “The capitalist system should be slapped very very hard”

        How’s communism working in North Korea? Oh that’s right, everyone is poor!

        In case you haven’t noticed, the Cold War is over. Capitalism won, communism failed.

  1. The El Segundo-based Kinkisharyo International, the U.S. arm of Kinki Sharyo Co. LTD or Osaka, Japan, was awarded a contract by Metro in August 2012.
    The rail cars are partially constructed in Japan and shipped to Kinkisharyo’s facility in Palmdale for final assembly in compliance with Buy America contract provisions.

    NOW FOR THE INCORRECT PART
    An estimated workforce of 250 persons will be hired in the Antelope Valley to meet Metro’s order. (( This was Killed by the Labor Dispute ))

    • A few days ago The Source listed under news of the day that a Union/labor dispute killed construction of the new cars in Palmdale. I guess the crack Metro PR team should be given raises and maybe naming rights for a to be announced later rail station.

      • Hi VV,

        Kinkisharyo will still complete final assembly of Metro’s rail car order in Palmdale (rail cars are 90% complete when they are shipped to Palmdale from Japan for completion). The union/labor dispute refers to the construction of a facility which will build other rail car components.

        Thanks,

        Anna Chen
        Writer, The Source

  2. If passenger counts are high enough can the some seats be reconfigured to face inward or either on both or one side?

    • That configuration was tried on a group of buses when purchased. Passengers complained and the buses had to be retrofitted into the traditional configuration.

      • Yes, that may be the case, but physio/psychologically, busses and subway cars are different. I don’t know about above ground trains, but underground there is not the same problems. Travelling sidewqays (and backward) is uncomfortable for a lot of people. When the visual is limited (like in a subway), the focus is no longer out the window and there is not the same discomfort.

      • Yet oddly, the configuration works fine practically everywhere else in the world. Really, no one cares. Just have the seats face inward and increase aisle space. No one is looking out the window anyway, they’re busy looking at their smartphones and tablets.

        • It wasn’t about looking out the window, it was about the lack of seats. Look around. When someone vacates a seat to alight there is a race to see which standee gets that seat. What so called works everywhere else does not always work here in Los Angeles. My guess it was extreme political pressure to retro fit the buses in the conventional manner.

  3. Dallas’ K cars have been anvils. They should serve Metro well also. Not like that Italian junk.

    • Up here in Seattle we have Kinkisharyo LRV’s too… and I’ve been incredibly impressed with them. They give a great ride, they’re built like tanks and somehow they still look really sharp! I hope the same proves true for these cars.

      To your other point I day this, folks from LA, SF and Boston may not be able to agree on much… but I think we can all agree… Breda builds a lousy LRV.

    • Hi Mike,

      Kinkisharyo will still complete final assembly of Metro’s rail car order in Palmdale (rail cars are 90% complete when they are shipped to Palmdale from Japan for completion). The union/labor dispute refers to the construction of a facility which will build other rail car components.

      Thanks,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  4. I agree that the new sunrise/sunset pattern fabric on the seats looks sharp and the blue fabric in the priority seating areas is hard to miss.

    But I have one question… why isn’t the blue fabric used on the flip up seats??

    These seats are arguably the most critical for disables passengers (they can’t simply find an unoccupied seat elsewhere on the train) and the passengers who sit there should also be prepared to move.

    I get that Metro might not want seniors or disabled passengers who don’t use a wheelchair seeing blue and sitting there, since they will be ask them to move if a passenger who uses wheelchair boards… but maybe make a different fabric pattern with the wheelchair and walker icons.

    That being said… I applaud Metro for the innovative thinking behind the blue fabric and the blue floor pattering on new trains and buses. It’s an idea I hope more agencies borrow.

  5. Nice cars but how does the ten percent of construction in Palmdale satisfy the buy American requirment?

  6. I really like the trains and the new color scheme but I wish we would have gotten more modern looking trains than boxy ones. I really liked the new Siemen trains San Francisco is getting

  7. Please try to provide a more comfortable seat. I would pay more to have a more comfortable commute. Or otherwise provide two classes of service.

  8. The yellow color used on the exterior does not make me think sunny. That color matched many traffic signals in LA and what good does it do on the green line? Even on the ground level lines it’s not as if the people that are driving into the train are going to see it. They’re only looking at that shrinking opening they’re trying to thread, with no idea the train they’re now crashing into has an ugly neon yellow trim around the front windshield.

    • Hi Steven,

      The color description comes directly from the design team. And the rail car is only being tested on the Green Line at this time. The first deployment of the new rail cars will be to the Gold and Expo Line.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source