Port Authority unveils new PATH cars

Entire fleet to be replaced by 2011
January 22, 2008 3:32:40 PM PST
The Port Authority on Tuesday unveiled a full-size mock-up of the new PATH car, a major milestone in its efforts to fully overhaul, modernize and increase capacity on the rail system. Officials say the new cars are a highlight of the agency's 10-year, $3.3 billion PATH program, which includes, among other improvements, completely replacing the existing 340-car fleet, adding up to 119 new cars to the fleet, modernizing the PATH signal system and increasing capacity on the system by approximately 25 percent.

The new cars will contain customer amenities designed to attract more riders to the mass-transit system to reduce congestion and improve the environment. The system now handles approximately 242,000 passenger trips each weekday.

Each new PATH car will be equipped with video monitors that will provide news, weather and sports information, as well as PATH service announcements.

The new cars also will feature three doors on each side to allow for faster loading and unloading; on-board CCTV surveillance capability; improved lighting; pre-recorded station announcements; enhanced signage; and the capability for passengers to communicate directly with the crew.

The cars also will have an environmental feature known as regenerative braking, which will allow the car to return some of the electrical power it uses to accelerate back to the power system when it goes into braking mode.

Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. is building the 340 PATH rail cars to replace the existing fleet. The Port Authority will receive the first test train of new PATH cars this year and passengers can expect to see new trains on the tracks by the end of the year. The entire fleet is supposed to be replaced by 2011.

Dates for installation of additional cars have yet to be determined.

The new PATH cars are part of the Port Authority's planned $3.3 billion, 10-year investment in PATH, the first major overhaul of the system since the bistate agency acquired it from the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad in 1962.

Other components of the $3.3 billion dollar capital improvement plan include:

  • Nearly $390 million to replace PATH's antiquated signal system, a critical component in increasing capacity by reducing the wait time between trains
  • $659 million to upgrade and modernize all 13 PATH stations, including the installation of 10-car platforms at the Harrison and Grove Street stations that will allow 10-car trains to operate on the congested Newark-to-World Trade Center line. Currently, seven-car trains run on the Newark-to-World Trade Center line
  • $549 million to maintain and upgrade existing PATH infrastructure in a state of good repair