More subway cars for Red/Purple Lines in the works

Initial rendering of the HR4000 rail car. Updated images will be available in a few months.

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.

39 replies

  1. Why would metro give the contract to a Chinese company that means no jobs for people here in Los Angeles that’s the reason why the Chinese are buying up America! Not to mention cheap manufacturing with cheap products good luck metro

  2. Do we have any information about the HVAC systems on these cars? There’s a need to improve the ventilation on the Red & Purple Lines. Summer heat and unpleasant odors detract from the rider experience.

  3. Oh, and I’m pretty sure the rendering DOES show three sets of doors per car, at least on the side we can see. (Presumably three more sets on the other side).

    And personally, I’d love to see the “Pacific Electric Throwback” color scheme (interior and all) show up again sometime, maybe at the next big anniversary.

  4. I will note that the newest headsigns on the Blue/Expo fleet are color-coded, and presumably the new cars for the Red/Purple fleet will also be. I’ll also note that the old-fashioned scroll-type headsigns still in use on the Chicago “L” have been VERY PROMINENTLY color-coded for probably at least 16 years. (I’m pretty sure they were color-coded the first time I visited Chicago, in 2001. I remember that it was 2001 because I’d postponed that vacation several weeks in the wake of the World Trade Center atrocities.)

  5. One thing I am kindly requesting of Metro is to make it more clear when a rail car is Purple Line bound or Red Line. This causes major confusion on the platforms and the small text is hard to locate.

    • Which begs to question: Does anyone actually look at those screen that states which train, the color of the line and the destination?? Have I seemed then be off sync?? Only twice actually, so in my personal experience I’d say they are dependable. I actually don’t trust the trains headsign as I can’t tell you how many times it’s been off for me.

    • Kawasaki is good, reliable supplier. I remember in the early 80s when the NYC MTA was on the verge of collapse with continuous breaksdowns, track fires and grafitti seemingly everywhere…..and then….Kawasaki subway cars started showing up on the 1 and 9 line and then the No. 3 line….in 1983-84….no one could believe it…clean, stainless inside and out, smooth, fast and quiet….they ran 75 to 90,000 miles between breakdowns….compared to 5 to 11,000 miles for much of the other cars…riders were heard to say audibly when boarding and riding “Am I still in New York?” They are still running today…in good condition given they are now more than 30 years old…

  6. There are no “manufacturers here in the United States that are totally American.” The only other bidder for this contract was South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem. All the other manufacturers of heavy rail vehicles (subway cars) are based in Canada (Bombardier), Europe (Alstom in France, CAF in Spain, Siemens in Germany, Stadler in Switzerland, Skoda in the Czech Republic, and a few in Russia), and Japan (Hitachi, Kawasaki, Kinki Sharyo, Nippon Sharyo). Many of these companies have assembly and even manufacturing plants in the United States. Kinki Sharyo has a plant in Palmdale to produce the 235 light rail vehicles that Metro has ordered for the Gold, Expo, Blue, Green and Crenshaw Lines, with only the exterior shells coming from Japan for the 78 LRVs that have been delivered so far and even those shells being made in Palmdale for the remaining 157, and CRRC will be doing most of the work on the 64 to 282 HRVs for the Red and Purple Lines in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Los Angeles, with only the exterior shells coming from China.

    • I still don’t see ANY reason to give the Chinese, a Communist Country, that type of business. All the products that come from China are junk!
      The new light rail vehicles, made by a Japinese Company, are very comfertable and seem to b e doing very well. Why couldn’t METRO picked a better company? Products made in Canada are very well made, the same cannot be said for products made in China.

  7. Umm, Looking forward to the day Metro realizes not continuing to use Articulated Buses is a bad idea and finally decide to order more.

    That being said, like the rendering!! As far as being painted by the color of the rail line. . . Please don’t!!! I’ve seen Purple stripe colored rail cars on the Red Line and Vice Versa. Just give it a boring Aluminum color to match the rest of the cars in the system, have the actual color of the rail line on the head signs and call it a day.

  8. I see only 2 doors per train car. That’s a mistake tight? The standard shoukd be three.

  9. Why is METRO insisting on purchasing something that is manufattured by an American company. Why support something made in China when we have manafactures here in the United States that are totally American?

    • One problem, there is no American based corporation that wants to build rail cars.

    • Hi John,

      At this time there are no companies in the United States that build rail cars. However, as noted only the car shell will be built in China. Final major assembly and component part manufacturing will take place in America.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • MR.TRUMP promised bringing jobs back lets form companies here,we can do it if only the shell is built in the COMMUNIST COUNTRY.

  10. Will these trains have open gangways similar to many metro systems around the world?

  11. Why is the MTA buying rail cars first from a communist nation that is dedicated to undermining our economy and second why not from a U.S. Corporation. Hopefully the federal government will decline to provide matching funding. And in the past the MTA has failed to purchase rail vehicles that are compatible with one another. It is possible. I was in San Diego about a month ago, the place where Light Rail was re-invented. They have taken delivery of new vehicles however I noted they place a old light rail vehicle between two new vehicles. Their light rail vehicles never look old and abused even the one they donated to the Orange Empire Museum.

    • Why don’t you read the publicly posted procurement documents and find out? Doing research isn’t scary, try it sometime.

      • Perhaps you should do some research instead of relying on the mis-information put out by the MTA. As a former RTD / MTA employee I can attest to the fact that many employed there now have no clue how to operate a transit agency. I did read the documents and they are incorrect. WABTEC is still in business and they are and have built many types of rail equipment including light and heavy rail cars.

        • Thanks for your reply. I think if WABTEC were able to bid for the contract, they would have done so. As it stands, two firms submitted bids, both were foreign and the Board awarded the contract to CRRC.

          Thank you,

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

      • Why would this alone cause somebody to wish failure on the whole project? This will be a tremendous thing for a great number of people.

        That being said, wouldn’t it make more sense to assemble the cars here in LA? Metro could save a lot on freight costs if the cars were shipped to LA, and assembled in LA, instead of being shipped 3,000 miles east for assembly then the 3,000 miles back here from Springfield.

        If Metro ends up buying over 200 of the railcars, as I suspect they will suit to the popularity of the subways, that could end up costing a fortune overall.

      • your are extremely ill informed. Do research before commenting. I understand though as I myself have jumped the gun a time or two but this is like Fox News bad….

  12. Red? These will also operate on the Purple Line. Does anyone at One Gateway understand how much confusion this is going to cause? It already is bad enough with the current cars having red stripes.

    • This is only an initial rendering and we’ll have updated specs and design schemes as we get further along in production.


      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • They will operate on both lines. Some of the cars will be additional, some will be used to replace existing cars.

      • The problem I have encountered is that people see the red stripes and interior decorations on the current cars, and think “This is a Red Line Train and it goes to North Hollywood”. Then we get to Wilshire/Western (because it was a Purple Line train) and there is much confusion when the train starts heading back to Union Station.

        All the announcements in the world fail to stop this. Coloring the new cars red, when they have been purchased after the addition of the Purple Line, only will continue this issue.