MARTA Completes Extensive Rail Car Rehabilitation Program

ATLANTA — MARTA has completed an extensive rail car rehabilitation program overhauling 218 of its oldest cars to extend each car’s life line by 15 years.

The cost-effective program has already resulted in an increase in MARTA’s rail service reliability by 22 percent and has also improved on-time performance substantially. MARTA General Manager/CEO Beverly A. Scott unveiled the final two rehabilitated rail cars on Feb. 18 during a special celebration at the authority’s Armour Rail Yard.

For a cost of $246 million, MARTA contracted with New York based-Alstom Transportation, Inc. USA to take each vehicle down to its shell and rebuild it from the ground up using new components and designs. By refurbishing the rail cars instead of buying new ones at a price of $3 million each, which was the average cost of a new rail car in 2005, MARTA saved an estimated $408 million.

In addition thanks to careful management of the rehabilitation contract, MARTA is completing the program approximately $3 million under budget.

In conjunction with the rehabilitation work, MARTA received significant assistance from the Rail Vehicle Consultant team of LTK Engineering Services, Parsons, and S.L. King & Associates. The RVC team has been responsible for the development, implementation and management of the rehabilitation effort as well as the Life Cycle Asset Reliability Enhancement (L-CARE) program, which is designed to maintain the newly rehabilitated vehicles in a state of good repair.

“The success of our rail car rehabilitation program highlights the criticality of “state of good repair” and system preservation,” Scott said. “The program would not have been possible without the generous grants we received from the Federal Transit Administration of the United States Department of Transportation totaling $166.9 million. The completion of this program is a great way to kickoff the celebration of MARTA’s 30 years providing combined bus, rail and paratransit service to Metro Atlanta.”

During the five year program, each rail car received new brakes and propulsion systems, new communications systems, interior lighting improvements, new stainless steel hand-grabs and refurbished seats, door and climate control system upgrades, easy to clean rubberized floors, new equipment and upgrades to the auxiliary electrical system, and redesigned ergonomically enhanced operator cabs.

“We are extremely proud to have partnered with MARTA and brought Alstom’s state-of-art technology and business excellence processes to work for the benefit of Atlanta mass transit patrons,” said Keith Stentiford, VP Alstom Transportation Inc., North America.”

In coordination with the rehabilitation work, MARTA has implemented the L-CARE program to proactively monitor, maintain and replace major rail car system components prior to the end of their useful life. Replacing components prior to failure or deterioration in performance results in a cost savings to the authority and ensures that these vehicles remain in excellent condition and perform at the highest level of reliability.