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New equipment enters service with inaugural trip from Trenton

December 11, 2006
Contact: Penny Bassett Hackett or
Dan Stessel 973 491-7078

NEWARK, NJ NJ TRANSIT’s first multilevel train debuted today on the Northeast Corridor, culminating four years of planning and designincluding extensive input from customersto offer riders a new level of comfort and convenience.

Following a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri welcomed state and local officials, guests and commuters aboard the new multilevel train for an inaugural trip from Trenton Station to New York. The trainset, representing Northeast Corridor Train 3844, departed Trenton at 12 p.m. and made all local stops en route.

"More New Jerseyans are making trains part of their lives. By adding more capacity to our railroad, we're helping to serve our state's growing number of commuters and making an investment in the future of our state," said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. "The increased popularity of rail is a glaring example of why the region needs another rail tunnel under the Hudson River. I will continue to work with Governor Corzine and my colleagues in Congress to get that tunnel built."

"At a time when rising gasoline prices are on everyone's mind, improving and expanding safe and efficient options for commuters is of utmost importance," said Senator Robert Menendez. "I commend NJ TRANSIT for its efforts to introduce more capacity, more cars, and more seats. I will continue to fight for federal funding to increase public transportation options for all New Jerseyans."

"These cars are the key to providing more seats on our high-density rail lines, where they are needed most," said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Kris Kolluri. "With the new fleet, we can continue to meet our growing ridership demandand provide an enhanced commuting experiencewhile we work toward the next generation of capacity improvements for New Jersey and the region as a whole."

"The Port Authority’s investment of $250 million for the first 103 multilevel rail cars represents our commitment to ensuring the region’s mobility, economic future and quality of life," said Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Chairman Anthony R. Coscia. "The cars are the first step toward providing additional capacity today, while our work to advance THE Tunnel project will secure the capacity needed to sustain generations yet to come."

The fleet of 234 multilevel rail cars will enable NJ TRANSIT to meet and anticipate ridership demand on its busiest rail lines, while providing an unprecedented level of comfort for customers.

"The input we received from our customers and our employees early in the design phase is evident in the attention to detail incorporated in the cars, including two-by-two seating, additional legroom, improved lighting and updated restroom amenities," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. "These cars enable us to add capacity while providing customers with a comfortable ride."

By this spring, Bombardier Transportation is expected to deliver to NJ TRANSIT 18 additional multilevel cars for service. Beginning next fall, multilevel trains will begin operating on the Morris & Essex and North Jersey Coast lines. The manufacturer is expected to deliver all 234 cars by the end of 2008.

A new level of capacity

The multilevel cars offer 15-20 percent more seating capacity than the latest generation of single-level cars, enabling NJ TRANSIT to accommodate more customers using the existing infrastructure.

As the new cars are delivered and tested, the multilevel fleet will be used for additional service and to replace some single-level cars on NJ TRANSIT’s busiest rail linesthe Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line and MidTOWN DIRECT service on the Morris & Essex and Montclair-Boonton lines.

The 234 multilevel car order consists of:

  • 86 coach cars (with ADA restrooms) with 132 seats
  • 33 cab cars (with ADA restrooms) with 127 seats
  • 115 coach cars (without restrooms) with 142 seats

A new level of input

At every phase, customers participated in the design of the new rail cars. A Customer Design Team, composed of 14 NJ TRANSIT commuters from across the system, worked with the manufacturer to provided feedback on interior design, onboard amenities, seat design, and color and fabric selection. Their participation included a September 2003 trip to a Montreal manufacturing plant for a firsthand inspection of a mock-up of the car.

More than any other feature, the cars’ seats received considerable attention from the Customer Design Team, which recommended modifications to improve comfort and lumbar support. Their recommendation to make the seat backs stationary yielded more legroom without reducing capacity.

A new level of comfort and convenience

Designed for customers by customers who worked with engineers for the rail cars’ manufacturer, the multilevel cars provide 25.27 inches of knee rooma full inch more than Comet V single-level carsand 2.2 inches more seat width than Comet V seats.

The cars’ interior design features large tinted windows, indirect ceiling lighting and soothing blue tones to produce a restful and spacious passenger environment. Each car features an upper and lower seating level, as well as an open, intermediate "mezzanine" level at each end of the carmaking the cars truly "multilevel." The mezzanine features plenty of space for customers who opt to standcomplete with padded leaning stationsas well as areas for wheelchairs, carts, strollers and luggage. Fully accessible restrooms are found in this area on more than half of the cars and feature refined finishes and a generous amount of space.

On the upper and lower levels, seats are arranged in a two-by-two configurationmeaning that every seat is either a "window" or an "aisle." This design ensures that all of the car’s seats are usable. The two-by-two configuration also results in wider aisles that facilitate passenger boarding and alighting, while making it easier for customers and crewmembers to move about the train. Four doors on each side of the car will further expedite the boarding process.

Each car features high-tech automated public address systems and LED destination screens to keep customers informed. Emergency intercoms are available throughout the carincluding a call-for-assistance button in the restroomsand improved anti-skid flooring is featured in the vestibules and restrooms to prevent slips.

The 68-ton stainless steel cars, which fully conform to all federal safety standards, are capable of being used anywhere on the NJ TRANSIT system and were custom designed to match the profile of the 100-year-old Amtrak-owned Hudson River tunnels. The cars are able to serve both high-level and low-level platform stations.

As the multilevel fleet enters revenue service, NJ TRANSIT will reassign modern Comet IV and V equipment to replace many 34-year-old Comet I-series cars, the oldest in the fleet. Currently, Comet I cars are used on the Main, Bergen County, Pascack Valley, Montclair-Boonton and Morristown lines.

A new level of testing and training

Extensive training of engineers and maintenance personnel has been underway at NJ TRANSIT’s Meadows Maintenance Complex since the spring, including classroom and hands-on training. Conductors, assistant conductors and ticket collectors have also received training, including familiarization with the multilevel cars’ onboard safety and communication systems.

Every system and component of the new cars has been rigorously tested at the manufacturing plant, at the Transportation Technology Center test track in Pueblo, Colorado and on all electrified segments of the NJ TRANSIT rail system. The 68-ton stainless steel cars meet all federal safety standards.

As they are delivered, each multilevel car will be tested on NJ TRANSIT tracks before entering revenue service.


NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 857,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.