November 3, 2011

Md. MTA to purchase 54 Bombardier 'multi-level' railcars

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is investing $153 million to acquire 54 new "multi-level" passenger railcars for the MARC commuter rail system. The cars, manufactured by Bombardier Transport, will replace older cars that have reached the end of their service life, allowing MARC to provide additional seating capacity while expanding its existing fleet.

The new railcars will be qualified to operate at speeds up to 125 mph and meet all of the requirements of Amtrak for operation on the Penn Line and CSX for operation on the Camden and Brunswick lines.

Seating capacity onboard is greater than those of the cars that they will replace. They will come in three variations. Fifteen new "cab cars" that contain an engineer's compartment for operation will seat 127 passengers. Thirty-four "trailer cars" will hold 142 passengers and five cars containing bathroom facilities will hold 132 passengers.

The new cars will have a useful life of up to 40 years. When they come online, MTA will retire 26 single-level passenger cars and 12 Gallery style cars. Overall, the MARC fleet will expand 16 cars.

The federal government will pay as much as 80 percent of the cost while the state of Maryland will cover the balance. Delivery of the cars is expected to begin in the spring of 2013.

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