Bombardier secures NJ Transit locomotive, NCTD rail car orders

July 17, 2020
NJ Transit is expected to take delivery of the locomotives in the first quarter of 2022, while NCTD expects delivery of its rail cars later in 2022.

Bombardier’s rail vehicle business got a boost this month with news that Bombardier Transportation was awarded a contract with the North County Transit District (NCTD) for commuter rail cars and New Jersey Transit approved an order of additional locomotives from Bombardier Transit Corporation. 

NCTD ordered 11 commuter rail cars for COASTER service, which Bombardier explained will position the transit district to significantly increase service frequencies to 30-minute headways and begin state of good repair replacement of current legacy COASTER coaches and cab cars over the coming years. Current headways between trains vary between 45 and 60 minutes during peak periods and more than 3.5 hours during the non-peak period.

“As we look to the future, NCTD will be in a position to continue moving forward, offering customers an outstanding riding experience and providing increased service along the rail line,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Councilmember. “With these two additional trainsets in the fleet, commuters will have a number of train runs throughout the day to meet their needs; and that really makes the decision to try transit an easy one.”

The base order, valued at approximately $43 million, includes eight coaches and two cab cars to support the San Diego Association of Governments 2050 Revenue Constrained Regional Plan (Regional Plan) for increased service levels, as well as an additional cab car. NCTD also has the option to purchase up to 27 additional cars to support its ongoing state of good repair needs.

“We’re confident that our new BiLevel cars for the COASTER commuter rail fleet, with their enhanced technical features and passenger amenities, will provide exceptional service and meet passengers’ evolving expectations,” said Elliot G. (Lee) Sander, president, Americas Region, Bombardier Transportation. “We’re pleased to continue our long-term partnership with NCTD, not only as the manufacturer of BiLevel cars but also as the operations and maintenance provider for both the COASTER and SPRINTER rail services. We’re proud to be working with our valued customer to provide safe and reliable transportation for the citizens of San Diego County.”

The new cars will be built at Bombardier’s manufacturing site in Thunder Bay, Canada. Deliveries are scheduled to take place in the fall of 2022. After testing and commissioning, the cars will begin to enter service that winter.

Across the country, the NJ Transit Board of Directors approved the purchase of eight additional ALP-45A dual-powered locomotives for $70.5 million. The new locomotives will allow NJ Transit Rail Operations to retire some locomotives in the fleet to increase mechanical reliability, improve on-time performance, provide operational flexibility and promote a more sustainable planet for the future.

The new order brings the number of ALP-45A locomotives NJ Transit has on order to 25, following an initial order of 17 approved by the board in December 2017.

The new locomotives, which feature upgraded diesel engines, will replace some of the older PL-42AC series diesel locomotives in NJ Transit’s fleet. The locomotives also feature an after-treatment system to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier IV emissions requirements, further reducing the locomotive’s emissions when operating in diesel mode.

Additionally, the ALP-45A’s can take advantage of operating in electric mode whenever overhead catenary is available, which is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than diesel operation.

NJ Transit has a goal of reducing its carbon footprint and notes replacing a Tier I locomotive with a Tier IV locomotive can result in an estimated emissions reduction of 52.0 NOx tons annually.

“This important purchase aligns squarely with our recently released 10-Year Strategic Plan and 5-Year Capital Plan. Improving service reliability and the customer experience are among the chief goals in both plans,” said NJ Transit President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “These new locomotives are far more environmentally-friendly and will provide additional flexibility to operate on both electrified and non-electrified tracks. Additionally, these locomotives will reduce the average age of our fleet, which ultimately results in improved reliability and on-time performance and reduces service interruptions for customers.”

Other benefits of the ALP-45As are:

  • Self-rescue capability by changing power modes;
  • Redundancy by having two engines instead of one;
  • Improved diagnostic capabilities and an upgraded pneumatic system;
  • Ability to operate push-pull passenger train service on both electrified and non-electrified lines at speeds of up to 125 mph in electric mode and up to 100 mph in diesel mode;
  • Increase in horsepower, acceleration and available head-end power over the locomotives they will be replacing.

These new dual-powered locomotives are part of NJ Transit’s larger fleet renewal efforts that include hundreds of new rail cars and buses the agency has ordered since 2018 to modernize the fleet and replace older equipment. In addition to the dual-powered locomotives, the agency has ordered 113 new multilevel rail cars, and, joining the fleet this year, 119 new cruiser buses and 110 new articulated buses.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction 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.