The board of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) approved a contract with Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. for up to $1.83 billion to design and build the next generation of railcars for the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad.
The MTA expects up to 676 cars will be assembled at Kawasaki’s plant in Yonkers, N.Y., and anticipates up to 1,500 people will be employed in New York State.
The cars will be used to replace 1980s-era M3 railcars that serve the LIRR’s eight electric branches and Metro-North’s Harlem and Hudson Lines and to expand fleet capacity for both railroads to allow for ridership growth. A portion of this contract and related development costs are funded with $355.5 million from the MTA’s 2010-2014 Capital Plan.
The initial contract will provide 92 cars to the LIRR. If funding is available in the forthcoming 2015-2019 MTA Capital Plan and the railroads choose to exercise future options, Kawasaki will manufacture up to 304 additional cars for the LIRR and up to 280 cars for Metro-North.
The cars will incorporate the most successful and popular features of the railroads’ two recent electric car classes, the M7s that serve the LIRR and Metro-North’s Harlem and Hudson Lines, and the M8s serving Metro-North’s New Haven Line.
The cars will have larger windows than the M3 cars they are replacing, automated public address announcements in car interiors and exteriors, and single leaf doors for improved reliability. They will also continue the M7/M8 configuration for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that has proven to be more resilient in extreme weather and more effective at providing customer comfort in all types of weather conditions.
As with railroads’ previous electric car classes, the majority of cars under this contract will be manufactured as “married pairs” comprised of two nearly identical cars permanently coupled together and sharing a restroom, cabs for engineer or conductor, and electrical systems. Each pair is designed to seat 221 passengers, eight more than the M7 pairs.