PATCO unveils updates to 46-year-old fleet

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The first PATCO trains to get a makeover were unveiled Thursday in South Jersey. (WPVI)

The next generation of PATCO train cars rolled into Woodcrest Station on Thursday.

The first six newly rehabbed cars are now in service.

The plan is to have all 120 PATCO cars be updated by the end of 2016.

The update will cost $194 million - $85 million funded from federal dollars.

71-year-old Earl Robinson has been sitting in the driver's seat for PATCO since the beginning.

He helped roll out the first trains when the line opened 46 years ago.

The older cars have worn well, but the seats have seen a lot of people come and go.

The upgrade sees newer seats and computer system, but a lot about these cars are the same.

"The technology is different, it's a little more advanced, but at the time the other cars were put in service they were advanced," Robinson said.

As many are looking at the rails with a closer eye after the Amtrak train derailment earlier this month, PATCO officials say the older cars were ahead of their time and equipped with speed control technology since the day they rolled out almost 50 years ago.

"We've always had the automatic train control. We also have very rigorous safety procedures and well-trained dispatchers. It doesn't happen here. It will not happen here. It cannot happen here," PATCO President John Hanson said.

The refurbishment will extend the life of the train cars by about 30 years.
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