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Six New Orange Line Train Cars Kick Off $2 Billion Improvement Plan

BOSTON (CBS) – The Orange Line sported a new look Wednesday, as six new train cars were put into service.

The new trains are sleek and modern-looking with more spacious interiors, wider doors and more handrails, along with LED lighting and LCD displays.

They also have new safety features, including audio and visual warnings when the doors are opening or closing.

One rider who tried out one of the new cars Wednesday said she liked the new improvements. "I think it's awesome - the accessibility. My daughter's in a wheelchair, so everything more open is easier to navigate into."

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A new Orange Line train. (WBZ-TV)

According to a report from the MBTA, the six new trains have been in testing for more than a year. They've accumulated more than 3,800 miles and passed 75 different tests.

"There's been a long wait for these cars to start to arrive, and if you think about how long the MBTA has been running a lot of the current trains that are on the Orange Line, I think everybody would agree that it's about time," said Governor Charlie Baker as he unveiled the new cars.

"You get tired, frustrated of the old equipment," said Conductor Gina Cruse, who sees the new cars as a move that will bring the MBTA into the future. "From the old to the new. We're trying to move forward from there. You're going to have happy employees like myself and the public is going to be as happy as we are."

To put this in perspective, a spokesperson for the MBTA tweeted that the last time a new orange line train was put into service Pope John Paul II was visiting Boston, the Iran hostage crisis was unfolding and Rosie Ruiz infamously cheated to win the Boston Marathon.

All of those events happened about four decades ago.

The new cars are part of a $2 billion investment in the Orange and Red lines. In all, 152 new Orange Line cars will roll out. When the new Orange and Red Line fleets are fully in service, there will be an increase of almost 80,000 seats on the lines.

The cars were taken out of service this afternoon so the MBTA could analyze performance data for the day, which is part of the new-car process. They will then be returned to service.

"The new OL train finished its first three round trips this afternoon. Right now, it's at Wellington where tests are being performed to make sure everything ran as expected. This will continue for a bit until given the green light for service at all times," the MBTA tweeted Wednesday evening.

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