NJ Transit’s board of directors approved the purchase of 17 more dual-powered locomotives from Bombardier for $184.5 million, adding to its fleet of train engines that can operate both on diesel fuel and on electricity in areas where the agency has electrified its track system.
The NJ Transit board includes state Transportation Commissioner Richard Hammer, who also heads the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The order for more locomotives is part of a 2008 contract that saw NJ Transit initially buy 26 such units, with an option for up to 63 more. It added nine in 2011 for a total of 35 dual-powered locomotives before the latest purchase.
The agency said the new units will allow it “to retire some of the oldest locomotives in the fleet to increase mechanical reliability, operational flexibility and efficiency.”
Executive Director Steven Santoro said: “The addition of these new dual-powered locomotives continues our effort to modernize our rail fleet. These locomotives can operate across the entire rail system in either electric or diesel mode, providing us with greater versatility and operating efficiency.”
The new units will replace NJ Transit’s aging fleet of locomotives that were initially built in the late 1960s, vehicles the agency said “have reached the end of their service life and have become increasingly more expensive to maintain.” It added that those older models are “becoming functionally obsolete” due to their “limited pulling power and ability to provide electrical power” to today’s larger and heavier multilevel passenger coaches.
It said the new higher-horsepower locomotives “are designed to operate push-pull passenger train service on both electrified and non-electrified lines at speeds of up to 125 mph in electric mode and up to 100 mph in diesel mode.”
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