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PATCO Welcomes First of Refurbished Railcars; Plan to Rebuild Entire 120-Car Fleet
The Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) introduced the first six of its long-awaited rebuilt railcars to service on the High-Speed Line in ceremonies May 28 in Cherry Hill, NJ, in an event that was attended by Reps. Robert Brady (D-PA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and officials from the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), parent agency of PATCO.
The authority will add eight more refurbished cars to the line this summer; after that, four cars a month will go to Alstom Transport in Hornell, NY, for refurbishing until the entire 120-car fleet is upgraded under a $194 million contract, according to PATCO General Manager John Rink.
“We anticipate having the entire fleet refurbished within the next 18 months,” Rink said.
DRPA Chief Executive Officer John Hanson emphasized that the railcar rehabilitation project is just part of PATCO’s renewed commitment to the stewardship of the transportation assets entrusted to DRPA. “We are working every day to provide safe and efficient service through the 21st century and beyond,” he said.
PATCO contracted with Alstom to carry out extensive rehabilitation of the cars’ interiors and operating systems to provide such improvements as flip-up seating to accommodate wheelchairs and bicycles, new seats and slip-resistant floors, new lighting, windows and HVAC systems. New braking systems conserve energy by returning the power generated in braking to the cars’ power systems, and the new cars have received significant upgrades to communications and security systems. The stainless steel car exteriors retain much of their original look.
Combined, PATCO cars log about 4.3 million miles annually, running around the clock, seven days a week, on the 14.2-mile route between Lindenwold, NJ, and Center City Philadelphia. The fleet comprises 74 railcars that have been in service since the line opened in 1969 and 46 that entered service in 1980.
PATCO officials and local politicians celebrated the launch of six refurbished PATCO cars on May 28. From left are DRPA Commissioner Whitney White, New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, DRPA CEO John Hanson, DRPA Vice Chairman Jeffrey Nash, Reps. Donald Norcross and Robert Brady and PATCO General Manager John Rink.
Photo courtesy of PATCO