Jan 12, 2022 - News

MARTA unveils new rail cars

A gray rail car with a blue, orange, and yellow stripe on the side and a red "smile" on the front traveling through a flat environment
Rendering courtesy of MARTA

MARTA asked, you answered, and starting next year, the first batch of more than 250 new, modern rail cars will pull into a station near you.

Why it matters: Most of MARTA’s current stock of cars are older than 40 years old, and years of use, repairs and getting wrapped in ads for personal injury attorneys can take their toll.

  • MARTA will spend $646 million on the new cars with cash from its capital programs budget, agency spokesperson Stephany Fisher tells Axios.

Flashback: Last year, MARTA asked the public to pick its favorite design for the next fleet of heavy rail cars.

Riders picked the minimalist exterior — the sleek design gives the sense of speed, MARTA said last year — coupled with an interior that favors “comfort and technology.”

Details: Unveiled at the annual State of MARTA event held virtually yesterday, the new design features a “smile” on the front of the train that denotes the color of the rail line — and signals to riders which train is arriving.

  • Inside, expect an open gangway so riders can move freely between cars, larger ADA spaces, and seats facing forward and inward. Designed and built by Stadler, the cars will also feature larger areas for luggage, bicycles, strollers, or standing.

On the tech side, some seats will have charging stations for smart devices, state-of-the-art lighting, wind screens with embedded digital displays, and digital system maps and service information.

Worth watching: The psychedelic video showcasing the TRON-like MARTA cars traveling on a rail system that has apparently expanded from metro Atlanta to a computer-generated desertscape.

Thomas’ thought bubble: I think MARTA should have bought a bunch of throwback railroad buses, but, hey, I’m just a journalist, not a transportation planner.

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