New Jersey Transit has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Bombardier Transportation for new state-of-the-art rail cars. The vehicles will be built at Bombardier’s manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh.
The New Jersey Transit Board of Directors approved a $669 million dollar contract Wednesday for 113 rail cars from Bombardier. It includes the first self-propelled multi-level rail cars to be used in the U.S. The agency posted YouTube video showcasing the new units. “NJ Transit and Bombardier are proud to introduce the third generation of the multi-level cars designed to offer a continuation of safe, reliable and improved passenger experience. The multi-level three cars with the power car are Bombardier’s realization of NJ Transit’s vision for the future of passenger rail service.”
Bombardier Transportation Spokesperson Maryanne Roberts says the company has provided rail cars to the transit system since 1980. “We’ve already supplied several generations of rail cars to New Jersey Transit. This will be the third generation of multi-level rail cars we will be providing to New Jersey Transit. These cars will have the latest in technology and customer amenities such as USB charging ports at the seats, infotainment screens showing the station that’s coming up and connections to be made. Most significantly one of the types of rail cars we’ll be providing will be a power car which will be the first of its type in North America which will allow New Jersey Transit to run trains without a locomotive.”
The rail cars will be assembled at Bombardier’s manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh, New York. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik issued a statement calling the it “…tremendous news for Bombardier and our Plattsburgh region.” North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas heartily agrees and notes that the $669 million contract could be worth much more. “If all options were to be exercised, as we certainly hope they will be, it’s potentially up to $3.6 billion. So it’s a huge potential award. Obviously they’ll be working very hard to deliver promptly and well in the pursuit of those options. And ideally and hopefully they’ll be able to do that.”
Douglas also anticipates a strong ripple effect among the local supply network. “When their employment and activity goes up there are a number of suppliers and venders producing various components in the area who also maintain or up their employment. So there’s a lot of ripple effect with this sector.”
Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman says the Bombardier rail car is a premier product, and expansion of their work provides greater opportunities for the region’s economy. “People have the opportunity to be part of a dynamic workforce that is known for its manufacturing and transportation and aerospace clusters.”
According to NJ Transit, the rail cars will begin service during the second quarter of 2023, replacing 40-year-old vehicles currently in use. The contract with Bombardier includes an option to purchase up to an additional 636 vehicles, subject to future board authorization, for a total contract value of $3.6 billion.