USA: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker officially opened the CRRC MA rolling stock assembly plant in Springfield on October 12.

The $95m plant and test track has been built to fulfil a contractual requirement for 60% domestic content in the metro cars that the Chinese manufacturer is supplying to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. A groundbreaking ceremony for the factory at a former Westinghouse site took place in September 2015.

In 2014 CRRC MA won a $430·2m contract to supply 152 cars for the Orange Line and 132 cars for the Red Line. Two years later MBTA ordered a further 120 cars for the Red Line. CRRC is building the first 12 cars in China. The first two Orange Line cars are now on test in Changchun, ahead of delivery to the USA later this year.

Full production at the Springfield works is planned to begin in early 2018. Series-built cars would be delivered at a rate of around four per month in 2018-21 for the Orange Line and 2019-21 for the Red Line.

The Orange Line rolling stock will replace the existing vehicles and increase the total fleet by 32 cars to enable peak headways to be reduced from 6 min to 4 min.

Based on China’s Type B design, the trainsets will offer capacity for 15 more passengers per car than the existing sets.