Old NJ Transit cars get new leases on life

July 5, 2008 12:57:02 PM PDT
They're cramped and with about 40 years of wear and tear. But for transit agencies scrambling to meet higher demand, old NJ Transit rail cars don't seem like a bad deal right now.

Transit agencies across the country have been trying to meet higher demand as high gas prices cause people to take the train, instead of their cars, to work.

All of a sudden, the 104 Comet 1 train cars that NJ Transit is retiring seem like a pretty good deal.

"Tired is probably the best word to use to describe them, and that might be generous," NJ Transit spokesman Dan Stessel told The Star-Ledger of Newark.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in Philadelphia is leasing eight Comet 1 cars for two years at a cost of $15,000 per car, per year.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Montreal is paying about the same amount for at least 14 of the cars.

Officials from Metrolink in Southern California are expected in New Jersey in the coming week to negotiate a leasing agreement.

The Utah Transit Authority has bought 25 of the cars at $35,000 per car, and plans to refurbish them, said Carrie Bohnsack-Ware, a spokeswoman for the Utah agency.

NJ Transit was able to phase out the cars after purchasing 279 multilevel rail cars from Bombardier Transportation. The cars are able to carry 20 percent more passengers than the old single-level cars.

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Information from: The Star-Ledger, http://www.nj.com/starledger

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