TriMet showed off one of their new MAX trains to the press and public earlier today. The 18 "Type 5" MAX cars will serve on the new Orange Line and throughout the service area
The last time Portland got new MAX trains, it was something of a letdown. The Type 4 MAX cars, with their sleek and curved exterior, promised a train-riding experience that was zoomy and futuristic. Instead, the fours were cramped, crowded, and uncomfortable.
Good news everybody: They fixed it. These new cars are, from a rider perspective at least, an improvement.
Photos of the interior after the jump.
I spoke with TriMet's Mary Fetsch, who singled out the middle section as probably the most improved part of the Type 5. The last round of trains had a middle section where riders faced each other in close clumps of chairs situated perpendicular to the windows. It gave you an okay view of the outside, but it also meant that you got to get really friendly with other commuters. According to Fetsch, riders complained about the close quarters. The new trains will have seats in the middle section parallel to the windows (just like the type threes did).
Like the Type 4, the new trains are based the tried-and-true Siemens S70 model, but they have much more seating and standing room than the old trains. That's mostly true in the middle section, but the area opposite the operator's cab known as the "galley" can also accommodate more riders.
One small issue: The seats on the type four that are shoved behind a short glass wall are still shoved behind a short glass wall on the Type 5. We can't have everything.
On the whole, though, it's a big improvement! Fetsch estimated that the 18 new cars still need some testing and tweaks before they can take passengers, but in all likelihood they'll probably hit the tracks before the Orange Line opens in September.