Changes coming for MARTA rail fleet

MARTA is considering redesigning existing rail cars and outfitting new cars with improved storage space to better accommodate luggage and bicycles. Here’s a brief look at the rail fleet, courtesy of MARTA COO Richard Krisak:

Size of the rail fleet: 318 cars. That’s the number of cars being used at any one time. MARTA refurbishes cars in sub-fleets of 100 cars.

Life cycle of a rail car: 25 years. “Our newest fleet of cars is, on average, 9-10 years old right now,” Krisak says. MARTA’s newest wave of cars are due for a mid-life overhaul in three to four years.

Oldest cars: Some cars currently in use were introduced in 1979. Those cars, the first MARTA started with, went through a mid-life overhaul when they were stripped to the frame and reconditioned, a process that takes years. After being refurbished, customers mistook them for brand new cars, Krisak says. Those cars will eventually be replaced with cars featuring a new design.

Procurement process: Buying new cars is a 5-6 year process. After awarding a bid, it takes three to four years to get the cars on site.

Current cost of a rail car: $3.1 million

The manufacturer: The rail cars are produced by AnsaldoBreda, Inc, an Italian company. The company’s website says the regional arm of AnsaldoBreda operates “throughout North America providing state-of-the-art heavy & light rail transit vehicles since 1978 with sales of more than $2.5 billion. With current fleets operating in Washington DC, Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco, AnsaldoBreda is the largest modern day supplier of transit rail cars in the United States outside of the populous New York metropolitan area.”

Public input: MARTA will invite the public to help choose how the new cars are outfitted, much as riders prompted changes for new MARTA buses when they were being ordered. “We’re going to look at interior layout configuration and colors,” Krisak says, “and let people participate.”

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