Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in the US has awarded a $278.5m contract to Hyundai Rotem to deliver 80 double-deck coaches.

The coaches will replace the single-deck coaches operating on the Boston commuter rail network. The move is expected to boost fleet capacity by 14,000 seats.

The push-pull double-deck coaches will be equipped with LED lighting and Positive Train Control.

MBTA general manager Steve Poftak said: “As ridership on the Commuter Rail system continues to climb, our customers have made it very clear that additional capacity is necessary.

“This procurement method is the fastest and most efficient way to meet the growing demand and provide our riders with improved service.”

The order is being funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Concurrently, a $41m contract was also awarded to WSP USA, Keville Enterprises and VP Engineering for engineering and programme management services.

While the cost of vehicle procurement is $278.5m, the total budget of the project is estimated to be $345.18m, which includes aspects such as professional services, force account and project administration.

MBTA in a statement said that it will issue the Notice to Proceed for the 80 coaches next month. The delivery of the first batch of coaches is expected in September 2022, with the final batch in June 2024.

The MBTA added that it will also issue a Request for Proposals for additional bi-level trains in November for 100 coaches. The award of procurement will be issued in November 2020.

The MBTA expects the first batch to arrive by July 2024 and the last batch in June 2027.

Last month, MBTA introduced the first Orange Line train into service featuring six new CRRC-built cars.