Good news for those following the subway rail car purchase process. Metro has issued the Notice to Proceed to China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), which means the firm can begin manufacturing the 64 new HR4000 heavy rail vehicles for the Red and Purple Lines.
Thirty of the new cars will go toward replacing existing trains to keep the Red Line in a state of good repair — our current subway fleet is on average more than 20 years old, and the average lifespan of the rail cars is 25 years. The other 34 new cars will be used on the Purple Line when the first 3.9-mile extension opens between Wilshire/Western and Wilshire/La Cienega in late 2023.
The contract will create approximately 50 local jobs, with 10 percent of the new jobs going to targeted disadvantaged workers. A new facility in the L.A. area will be used to manufacture major component manufacturing for the propulsion, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems. Manufacturing of the exterior shell of the subway cars will take place in CRRC’s Changchun, China facility. Final assembly will take place in Springfield, Mass. (Note: there are no U.S.-owned rail car manufacturers.)
The first pilot vehicle is expected to be delivered by Spring 2020, and the entire base order of 64 subway cars by September 2021. Metro may also choose to exercise up to five options to buy an additional 218 subway cars for a total project budget of $647 million, funded by a combination of local and federal sources, including a percentage of Measure R sales tax proceeds.