NJ Transit Board approves purchase of new rail cars

Dec. 13, 2018
Bombardier will provide NJ Transit with 113 new cars, including first self-propelled multi level cars in the U.S.

New Jersey Transit will order 113 new rail cars from Barbardier to replace the transit agency's 40-year-old Arrow III Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), which are the oldest in the agency's fleet. 

NJ Transit's Board of Director approved the $670 million contract, plus contingencies, at a Dec. 12 meeting. 

“This historic purchase is the perfect example of how NJ Transit is reclaiming its position as a national leader in transportation,’’ said NJ  Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett. “The new self-propelled multilevel cars break new ground in railroad technology and we’re proud that NJ Transit is leading the way.  With this investment, we’ll be able to retire the oldest rail cars in our fleet, while increasing reliability, efficiency and customer comfort.’’

The purchase consists of 58 "power cars" with electric propulsion capability and 55 non-powered trailer cars. The Multilevel III Power EMUs include the first multi level self-propelled cars used in the United States.

NJ Transit explains that the new cars will have an 11 percent increase in seating capacity; from 1,380 seats on a 12-car Arrow III train to 1,552 seats on a new 12-car Multilevel III train. The new cars will feature roomier two-by-two seating as opposed to the three-person bench seats that are currently on the Arrow III cars. Other customer amenities include USB charging ports for customers and new, onboard information displays. Additional benefits of the new cars include reduced operating costs, higher acceleration and a higher Mean distance Between Failure. 

The base order is for 58 multilevel power cars, 33 cab cars, 16 trailer cars and 6 trailer cars with restrooms. There are also options for an additional 636 cars to replace the remaining single-level cars and accommodate future growth. The vehicles are scheduled to begin testing in the third quarter of 2022 and are expected to enter revenue service during the second quarter of 2023.

NJ Transit says this purchase is allowing the agency to take a step toward the goal of having the overall average age of all rail vehicles under 30 years old, making for a more modern fleet that supports enhanced comfort, reliability and efficiency.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.