Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

The flexibility of Quester Tangent equipment, combined with our extensive integration expertise, created a tailored solution that extended the life of a legacy fleet for long-term cost savings for the transit operator and reduced risks and costs for the rail manufacturer.

Project overview

Project name: Kawasaki coach car retrofit

Client: Alstom

Type of project: Retrofit

Vehicle application: Commuter Rail

Number of vehicles: 74

No. of QT units sold:

  • 74 Monitoring and Control Units (MCU)
  • 74 Train Network Controllers (TNC)
  • 24 Operator Display Screens (ODS)

Contract awarded: 2013

In-service date: 2015


  • Train Control and Monitoring System
  • Train networks

Location: Boston, MA

Expert system and network integration meant superior, cost-effective interoperability

In 2013, Quester Tangent was contracted to supply equipment to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) for a Kawasaki retrofit of 24 Control Trailer Coaches (CTC) and 50 Blind Trailer Coaches (BTC). Similar to equipment Quester Tangent supplied to MBTA in 2009 for their new bi-level commuter coaches, equipment in the 2013 project included a Monitoring and Control Unit (MCU) and Train Network Controller (TNC). The CTCs were also supplied with Operator Display Screens (ODS).

Through software modifications, the same Monitoring and Control Unit originally designed for the Hyundai-Rotem bi-level commuter coaches and later re-engineered for the Motive Power Inc. HSP46 locomotives, was modified for use on this retrofit project, creating a custom solution that extended the life of this legacy fleet with long-term cost savings for the transit operator.

The Operator Display Screens installed on the Kawasaki Control Trailer Coaches provide the same information as on the Hyundai-Rotem coaches, with a consistent user interface already familiar to the train operators.

The versatility of Quester Tangent’s Train Network Controller, previously supplied for the new-build Hyundai-Rotem coaches and Motive Power Inc. locomotives, meant that it, too, could be installed on the Kawasaki coach cars for communication between cars, modernizing the legacy fleet to interoperate fully with the newer vehicles for full access to operational and fault data.

Using the same equipment that was installed on the other fleet vehicles also helped MBTA with their maintenance and support requirements: maintenance personnel did not require additional training and the existing test equipment remained compatible.

Quester Tangent used the same expertise to integrate the Train Monitoring System (TMS) and network equipment in both the new Rotem coaches and the Kawasaki coach car retrofit program. The flexibility of Quester Tangent equipment, combined with extensive integration expertise, ensured interoperability, reducing risk and saving time and cost for Alstom.