N.J. Transit Buying Self-Propelled Multilevel Cars to Replace Arrow III EMUs

A string of Arrow III EMUs pass through the Newark Liberty International Airport Station in 2018. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Board of Directors for N.J. Transit has approved a contract to buy 113 new rail cars, including its first self-propelled multilevel rail cars.

This order of 113 Multilevel III Passenger Vehicles from Bombardier is the largest order for rail cars in recent years by N.J. Transit. Officials say it will allow the agency to replace the oldest rail cars in its fleet, including the vaunted Arrow III EMUs.

The purchase, which consists of 58 power cars with electric propulsion capability and 55 non-powered trailer cars, was approved as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The cost of the contract will not exceed $670 million plus contingencies.

“This historic purchase is the perfect example of how N.J. Transit is reclaiming its position as a national leader in transportation,’’ N.J. Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said in a news release. “The new self-propelled multilevel cars break new ground in railroad technology and we’re proud that N.J. 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 Multilevel III Power Cars are Electric Multiple Units (EMU’s), a multiple-unit train consisting of self-propelled cars using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the vehicles on the train.

The new cars increase 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 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.

The base order is for 58 multilevel power cars, 33 cab cars, 16 trailer cars and six trailer cars with restrooms. There are also options for an additional 636 cars to replace the remaining single-level cars and accommodate future growth.

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