A southbound NJ Transit train passes through Elizabeth, N.J. in August 2003..
A southbound NJ Transit train passes through Elizabeth, N.J. in August 2003. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

Since the late 1970s, Arrow III cars have been a mainstay on the Northeast Corridor and other N.J. Transit transit lines. The EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) cars include pantographs, so they can propel themselves and do not need a locomotive.

But, N.J. Transit is planning to replace the aging cars, which are the railroad’s oldest still in use. The design specs for the Arrow IV cars is still in the works, but officials indicate that the replacement cars will be also be EMUs.

In 1989, N.J. Transit began the overhaul of 230 Arrow III electric multiple unit vehicles. The overhaul involved the replacement of the existing DC propulsion package with a state-of-the-art microprocessor controlled AC propulsion system.

In addition to the DC-AC conversion, dynamic braking capability was added. The implementation of the above mentioned systems was an engineering challenge which required diligent oversight through the design review phases, first article inspections of major components, and vehicle level functional testing.

This process culminated in the administration of a comprehensive reliability growth program.

In addition to the Northeast Corridor, Arrow III cars are used on N.J. Transit’sNorth Jersey Coast and Morris and Essex lines. N.J. Transit owns at least 230 Arrow III cars.

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