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Increased seating, reliability and amenities for customers; includes self-propelled multilevel cars, the first of their kind in the USA


December 12, 2018


NEWARK, NJ -- The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today approved a contract with Bombardier for 113 new rail cars, which includes the first self-propelled multilevel rail cars in the United States.


“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.’’


This order for 113 Multilevel III Passenger Vehicles, the largest order for rail cars in recent years by NJ TRANSIT, will allow the agency to replace the oldest rail cars in its fleet.


The cost for the contract will not exceed $670 million plus contingencies.


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. A Request for Proposals (RFP) went out in October 2017.


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 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 Multilevel III Passenger Vehicles will replace the aging Arrow III EMUs, which are over 40 years old. 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 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.


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


This purchase is allowing NJ TRANSIT 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.


The benefits of the Multilevel III Passenger Vehicles include reduced operating costs, higher acceleration and an 11 percent increase in seating capacity. The Multilevels also have a higher Mean Distance Between Failure (MDBF); 370,575 miles, compared to 40,046 miles for the Arrow IIIs based on October 2018 data.



NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 944,000 weekday trips on 251 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 165 rail stations, 62 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.