RAIL ROLLING STOCK PROGRAM: ENGINEERING ASSISTANCE CONTRACT AMENDMENT FOR DESIGN OF MULTILEVEL POWER CARSI suppose it's too late for a waiver such as Caltrain's, but it may well be worth it for Metrolink to look at some degree of involvement, even if only for insight into the EMU market, and to begin planning its own electrification.
Since 2005, NJ TRANSIT's multilevel vehicles have enhanced the comfort and quality of service for customers and improved the reliability of rail service wherever they are operated. The vehicles feature state-of-the-art onboard communications, wider seats and more leg room, and improved mechanical systems that are less prone to weather conditions.
NJ TRANSIT's rail fleet management strategy includes use of more multilevel rail cars to maximize capacity for customers in the capacity-constrained Hudson River Tunnels and Penn Station New York. NJ TRANSIT has already deployed 321 multilevel vehicles in revenue service and an additional 100 multilevel vehicles have been ordered and will be delivered in the year ahead.
The single-level, self-propelled Arrow III Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) rail cars, which were manufactured nearly 35 years ago, are the next vehicles in NJ TRANSIT’s fleet that require replacement. NJ TRANSIT will replace these outdated Arrow III vehicles with new Multilevel Power Cars (MPCs). These new self-propelled rail cars will feature all of the customer amenities that are provided on the existing multilevel fleet including the two by two seating, but will also include onboard propulsion that will allow the cars to operate without a locomotive.
The MPCs will be mixed with the current fleet of Multilevels to provide self-propelled train sets without locomotives. Since these new train sets will utilize rail cars from the existing fleet, there are significant capital cost advantages to these new MPC vehicles versus replacement of the Arrow III fleet on a car for car basis.
The new multilevel trains with MPCs will increase the peak hour capacity into New York Penn Station by approximately eight percent. The Multilevel Power Cars will meet all current Federal regulations and accessibility requirements. These vehicles will provide operational flexibility for both smaller trains that operate in low ridership areas as well as with longer trains that operate in places such as the Northeast Corridor.
Unfortunately, while the total purchase will be cheaper because of the fleet mixing, much of the acceleration advantage will be lost in such a mixed consist.