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FMCB Approves the Procurement of 80 New Commuter Rail Bi-Level Coaches

Posted on September 23, 2019

Today the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board awarded a $278.5 million contract to Hyundai-Rotem for the procurement of 80 new Commuter Rail Bi-Level Coaches, which will increase capacity by over 14,000 seats daily. A $41 million contract for engineering and program management services for the project was also awarded to WSP USA Inc., in close cooperation with Keville Enterprises, Inc., and VP Engineering, Inc.

“As ridership on the Commuter Rail system continues to climb, our customers have made it very clear that additional capacity is necessary,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “This procurement method is the fastest and most efficient way to meet the growing demand and provide our riders with improved service.” 

Funded by the Commonwealth, the procurement of these 80 Hyundai-Rotem bi-level coaches that will replace single-levels will address an immediate need for vehicles and will provide a more efficient way to add capacity. These bi-levels also include upgrades and improvements like LED lighting and the integration of positive train control; are compatible with the current fleet and infrastructure; and include an ease of maintenance. As these bi-levels are a reproduction of the current bi-level fleet, additional benefits include a workforce familiarity with the design; minimal operating and maintenance training required; guaranteed compatibility with the existing fleet; and minimal design impacts.

The total cost of this vehicle procurement is $278,589,000 with a total project budget, which includes professional services, force account, project administration, and more, of $345,186,459. The Notice to Proceed for the sole-source procurement of 80 coaches will be issued in October 2019 with the first of 80 anticipated to be delivered in September 2022 and the last anticipated in June 2024. In addition to these 80 coaches, the release of a Request for Proposals for additional bi-level coaches is anticipated for November 2019 with an award of procurement of up to 100 coaches, plus options, anticipated for November 2020. The first of those 100 coaches is anticipated to be delivered in July 2024 and the last in June 2027.

Recent studies have shown an increase in Commuter Rail ridership, which will be further impacted when South Coast Rail comes online and by multiple MassDOT highway projects that are scheduled in the near future. As part of the procurement and vehicle implementation, coach vehicles will be replaced in steps. The first step addresses the immediate need for new coaches, which is best accomplished through this sole-source contract with Hyundai-Rotem, expediting the replacement of the oldest, more unreliable of the aging fleet as well as supporting South Coast Rail’s system expansion. The second step is a competitively bid procurement for up to 100 bi-level coaches, plus options.

While addressing current needs, this procurement does not preclude the MBTA from choosing a different Commuter Rail vehicle type in the future. The future of the MBTA’s Commuter Rail system continues to be studied as part of Rail Vision, which identifies cost-effective strategies to transform the existing network that best supports improved mobility and economic competitiveness in Greater Boston. Rail Vision is currently exploring scenarios for how future Commuter Rail service could operate, including enhancement in vehicle technology. To learn more about the MBTA’s Rail Vision, visit mbta.com/railvision.

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