Sunday, August 5, 2012

NJT to replace Arrows with multilevel EMUs

Quoth their board meeting agenda:

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 NJ TRANSIT will replace these outdated Arrow III vehicles with new Multilevel Power Cars (MPCs).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.
I 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.

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.


  1. I'm curious to see if they can keep weight down to reasonable levels. The latest FRA-compliant single-level EMUs are already at 68-ish tons.

    1. Doubt it, from what I understand it's basically just an EMU modification of the multi-levels that they're already buying.

  2. They should be able to utilize regenerative braking rather than burning up brake shoes on those 100 to zero decelerations. That's an advantage.

  3. Come on! The Arrow IIIs are the last of my childhood trains since NJ Transit...uh, screwed (want to say the more offensive word, but will refrain) with the older Comets, such as the Comet Is, Comet IBs, Comet IIs, and even Comet IIIs. They should have stopped with Comet IVs and just made more of the older Comets.

    I'm not a rider, but I was a big railfan of the older trains from the 1980s through about 2000 or so. It's bad enough they turned the original Comet IIs into the freakish Comet IIMs that look like Comet IVs without the middle door. The Comet Vs and Multi-Levels should have NEVER been made! I hate progress and have always hated it since the 21st century began. I grew up in the 1980s mostly and wish all progress had stopped when the 20th century ended. Curse you, NJ Transit for doing this to my childhood trains!

  4. I realize that this is old news, but I didn't see this until now. I hope they haven't already screwed up with the Arrow IIIs, the last surviving member of my childhood trains. I know I'm a nobody and probably very few will care what I have to say. But, I will say that things were much better in the old days and, unlike most other people, I refuse to "get with the times" or "look into the future". I live in the past and will stay in the past until I'm dead. Since things were much better back then than they are now, why should I get with the times or look into the future? There's nothing good about anything today...and NJ Transit trains of today are nothing compared to the older trains that they used to have.


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