136 Metrorail cars to be made in Miami-Dade
One hundred and thirty-six new Metrorail cars are expected to start rolling in by the end of next year. Alice Bravo, director of Miami-Dade Transit, said the multi-million-dollar initiative to upgrade the transit line’s fleet is on schedule.
The county anticipates the delivery of the first car by the end of 2016 and the rest to gradually roll into service by the end of 2017.
The much-needed upgrade will replace the same train cars that have been transporting riders since Metrorail opened in 1984.
“The train design is being finalized by the firm AnsaldoBreda,” Ms. Bravo said. “A crew is working with our team and our consultant to finalize all the specs. We’re also close to finishing the facility in Medley where the cars will be manufactured. That should be open [by the] end of this year or the beginning of next year.”
The $375.7 million project includes a $313.8 million contract with Italy-based rail car manufacturer AnsaldoBreda, Miami Today previously reported, and is funded through transit system sales surtax revenue bonds collected from the county’s one percent sales surtax for transit.
While a new fleet will surely benefit commuters, ongoing problems with the rail line’s 30-year-old infrastructure might pose additional setbacks.
To address issues with the track itself, Ms. Bravo said the county plans to develop a test car – a train car with censors attached to its base with the ability to detect defects on the tracks. The test car, which is to be developed using an existing train car, will automate a process that has historically been based on visual and manual inspection, she said.
“It’ll help us stay on top of things,” Ms. Bravo said.
Plans to replace a section of the tracks between the Brickell and Vizcaya stations are also in place.
Funding for both the test car and track replacement will come via the People’s Transportation Plan surtax and federal funds.
Ms. Bravo stressed how easy it is to take Metrorail to the airport, especially now that the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker mobile app tells a commuter exactly how to get from one location to the next. The county is also working with the City of Miami to integrate its trolley system information within the app.
Another initiative to get more commuters on public transit is the county’s Corporate Discount Program, which guarantees discounted Metrorail and monthly parking passes for participating employees.
“We’re hoping that when we get the new cars,” Ms. Bravo said, “we can increase the frequency of service to the airport.”