Image courtesy of Alstom Americas

Hartford Line and Waterbury Branch riders are in for a big upgrade to their commutes after the state inked a $315 million deal to buy 60 new coaches for its commuter rail operations.

The Lamont administration announced the contract with French trainmaker Alstom Wednesday. The trains will be built in Alstom’s U.S. facilities but are based on the company’s established X’Trapolis train design.

Deliveries will begin in 2026 and the trains will be designed to run up to 24 hours and 1,200 miles a day, with a 40-year service life.

Unlike the 30-year-old passenger cars in use on the Hartford Line and Waterbury Branch, the new Alstom train cars promise “spacious two-by-two seating configuration and easy access for passengers using mobility aids…convenient overhead luggage racks, foldable workstation tables, and a bicycle storage area,” Lamont’s office said, along with “reliable” WiFi, real-time information displays, power outlets and USB charging ports for cell phones and other personal electronic devices.

“Having a modernized transit system with safe, comfortable, and convenient access to work, home, and fun is essential to attracting the kind of businesses and workforce talent we need to grow good-paying jobs and remain economically competitive,” Lamont said in a statement. “Connecticut is the home of the busiest rail line in the nation, and the purchase of these new rail cars continues our efforts to deliver better and more reliable service for commuters.”

The Hartford Line, in particular, has helped catalyze real estate development along its route from New Haven to Springfield, Massachusetts, via downtown Hartford.

The contract also includes an option for another 313 as part of a state program to renew its rail fleet. The state also replaced locomotive-hauled trains on the Shore Line East commuter service between New Haven and New London with shorter versions of the same fast electric multiple-unit trains operated by Metro-North

The new train cars come after the Lamont administration ordered new, dual mode locomotives, which can run either on the Metro-North or Shore Line East electrified main line or on the nonelectrified main line from New Haven to Springfield, Massachusetts or the nonelectrified branch line from Waterbury to Stamford via Bridgeport. The new locomotives will improve service quality and reliability, Lamont’s office said. The Hartford Line currently relies on six diesel-only locomotives built in 1971 and 12 built between 2005 and 2015, while the Waterbury Line uses slightly newer locomotives.