NEW YORK — Virginia Railway Express exercised its option order for an additional 50 bi-level passenger rail cars from Sumitomo Corp. of America and its car builder partner Nippon Sharyo, Ltd.
The contract was executed on July 27. It is in addition to the current VRE order for 11 bi-level cars that was issued last May.
The cars for the contract will be similar to the 300 Gallery type bi-level passenger cars that were delivered in 2005 to Metra in Chicago. Due to the expanding VRE system and increased ridership, these bi-level cars will have a much larger capacity for seating, accommodating up to 140 passengers per car, according to officials.
These cars will replace the older and less spacious single-level passenger cars that are currently in the VRE fleet.
“We are very excited about this option order,” said Dennis Larson, director, Rail Equipment & Services at VRE. “With this option order we will facilitate replacement of existing cars which will bring more customer satisfaction to our riders.”
The contract price will be $109 million including options. Delivery is scheduled from the end of 2006 through the latter part of 2008. Car body shells will be manufactured in Nippon Sharyo’s Toyokawa plant in Japan and the final assembly will be done at Super Steel’s plant in Milwaukee using various components procured in the US.
The new passenger cars will enhance the ridership of the commuter rail lines in the state of Virginia and will contribute greatly to reducing the heavy traffic in the surrounding urban and suburban areas.
The Sumitomo and Nippon Sharyo team have already delivered over 900 passenger cars in the US market since 1980, including the 300 Gallery Type bi-level passenger cars and 26 Highliner Electric Multiple Units delivered in Chicago.