NJ TRANSIT’s River LINE is testing a new method of refurbishing and maintaining the exteriors of light rail vehicles that promises to be more cost-effective, environmentally safer, and easier to apply than traditional painting. The new technique involves the use of wraps to cover the exterior of the vehicles.
“Maintaining our vehicle fleets using new techniques like exterior wraps is consistent with NJ TRANSIT’s mission to deliver maximum value to our customers in the most environmentally friendly way as possible,” said NJ TRANSIT President/CEO Kevin Corbett. “The pilot project underway on the River LINE may eventually help NJ TRANSIT keep our vehicles looking their best and help protect them from wear and tear with the added benefit of substantial cost savings.”
In a pilot project, masking material is being used in lieu of repainting the exterior of one of the fleet’s cars, to refresh the appearance and protect the vehicle. The material, known as 1080 wrap, is produced by 3M and is being installed by the Reidler Decal Corporation of St. Clair, Pa. The company also did the decal work on NJ TRANSIT’s “Heritage Locomotives,” which were introduced last year to mark the agency’s 40th anniversary.
The total cost of the pilot project is $38,020 and is expected to be completed this month.
Using wrap instead of paint has several benefits. It is estimated that applying wrap on the River LINE’s entire fleet of 20 trains would result in $570,000 in savings compared to painting the vehicles. The decals would also last from seven to 10 years compared to just five years for paint.
Painting is also more harmful to the environment and requires special ventilation and equipment. Repairing damaged wrap is much easier and less costly than repainting a damaged or worn exterior.
In addition, temporary decals for advertising or for public-awareness campaigns can be more easily applied and removed without damaging the surface of vehicles that are covered in masking material. The same temporary decals can damage the clear coat and paint finish of painted light rail vehicles.