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Board Approves Rehabilitation of 44 Coaches

NEWARK, NJ, December 12, 2001 -- In a continued effort to modernize the NJ TRANSIT rail fleet, the Corporation's Board of Directors today approved a contract with AAI Corporation of Hunt Valley, MD to overhaul 44 Comet IIB rail cars, provide spare parts and perform additional work to meet Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements at a cost not to exceed $37.7 million.

Today’s Board action complements NJ TRANSIT's bus and rail fleet expansion program that will update equipment and improve travel throughout the Corporation’s commuter system.

"Quality public transportation means a comfortable ride," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein. "And a more comfortable ride means a more satisfied customer -- a customer who will continue to ride NJ TRANSIT trains, buses and light rail vehicles."

"These cars will be equipped with contemporary amenities that will ensure smoother operation," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "It also ensures these rail cars will spend more time in service instead of the maintenance yard. With the demands placed on our rail service, more rail cars in service means more seats each day for our 110,500 train riders."

AAI -- which is currently overhauling 116 NJ TRANSIT Comet II rail coaches -- will replace major components and subsystems on the Comet IIB cars, including doors, seats, windows, floors and subfloors, communications systems and destination signs. In addition, heating and air conditioning systems will be modernized and disc brakes will be added to the current brake system to extend the life of rail car wheels.

Consistent with FRA requirements, AAI will also install additional components on both the Comet II and the Comet IIB coaches. These components include additional lighting for stairways used to exit the rail cars onto low-level platforms and emergency door releases in the vestibules.

Overhaul of the Comet II cars is expected to be completed in April 2003, at which time overhaul of the Comet IIB coaches will commence. The last overhauled Comet IIB car is expected to return to service in the winter of 2003/2004.

NJ TRANSIT's rail fleet modernization and expansion program also includes the purchase of 200 single-level rail cars, 24 high-horsepower electric locomotives, 33 high-horsepower diesel locomotives and the future purchase of up to 150 bi-level coach cars.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 380,600 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.