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.