A first look at the future Purple Line’s railcars

Interior of Purple Line train
The interior of a Purple Line train is seen.

Exterior of Purple Line train
The exterior of a Purple Line train is seen.

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Interior of Purple Line train
Exterior of Purple Line train

Twenty-six light rail trains, each comprised of five car-shells, will move Purple Line passengers in Maryland — someday.

Details were shared during an online community forum Tuesday night on the vehicles that will eventually be used on Maryland’s upcoming Purple Line.

“The car-shells, which are fabricated and painted in Spain, are shipped to a factory in Elmira, New York, where they’re then populated with various electromechanical systems and outfitted with all the necessary equipment to become a safe transportation vehicle,” according to Purple Line project director Vernon Hartsock.

He said the cars, at 140 feet, are “about the longest light rail vehicle” in North America.

“Basically, all 130 car-shells have been fabricated. Ninety-four of them have been painted, 82 of them are in Elmira, New York, for assembly; five are in transit from Spain to Elmira and seven are awaiting shipment from Spain to Elmira,” said Hartsock.

The Purple Line, a 16-mile light-rail line with 21 stations that will extend from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County, has been been plagued with a series of delays.

Without giving specifics, the Maryland Transit Administration said on its website that its goal is “to open the light rail system as soon as possible.”

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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