Jump to content
Attention: In order to reply to messages, create topics, have access to other features of the community you must sign up for an account.


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


Multilevel Train Rolls Out, Changing Little for Riders

Recommended Posts

Multilevel Train Rolls Out, Changing Little for Riders


Published: July 8, 2007


WHEN New Jersey Transit unveiled its new multilevel trains last December, hopes ran high among riders that the gleaming cars, which hold up to 20 percent more passengers, would help ease the strain on the morning and evening commute.


But six months on, little has changed for most riders. The one 11-car multilevel train in operation makes only two round trips a day, and only on the Northeast Corridor Line between Trenton and Pennsylvania Station in New York. Slightly behind schedule, New Jersey Transit will add a second eight- or nine-car multilevel train this month, but it has not said what line it will run on or how many trips it will make a day.


Last month, New Jersey Transit ordered 45 cars, to bring its total purchase to 279, but all of them will not be put into service until 2009 because the cars go through a battery of tests before being deployed. New Jersey Transit has also had to deploy a second locomotive to push the heavier 11-car multilevel train.


Dan Stessel, a spokesman for New Jersey Transit, said that the rollout of the multilevel cars is going largely according to plan, including the second locomotive, which he said does not need an engineer to operate.


While riders may have expected more trains to be in service by now, New Jersey Transit is spending a lot of time guaranteeing that the cars are tested properly before they are put into service.


“The critical point is that we do this right and ensure that the manufacturer has worked through all the issues,” said Mr. Stessel. A Canadian company, Bombardier, is building the cars, which cost about $1.5 million apiece. “We’re interested in the fleet getting delivered on time, but we’re obsessed that we have quality cars in service.”


That is cold comfort to commuters who often must stand on overcrowded trains to Manhattan during peak hours. New Jersey Transit officials say the multilevel trains, even when they are in use, are a temporary solution. The larger problem of train congestion will be solved only after 2016 when a second tunnel under the Hudson is expected to be completed, doubling the number of trains that can get in and out of Manhattan, they say.


Even in the short term, the multilevel trains were supposed to help offset the loss of the “clockers,” the Amtrak trains that New Jersey Transit monthly pass holders could ride at no extra cost.


Until October 2005, Amtrak was paid $6 million a year to carry New Jersey Transit riders on some morning and evening rush trains between Trenton and Manhattan. New trains, including the multilevel cars, were supposed to make the subsidy unnecessary.


The 11-car multilevel train has 1,485 seats, 105 more than in a 12-car single-level train. The multilevel cars, though, do not have three-seat benches that some commuters avoid because they do not want to sit between two other riders.


“Every seat is useable and desirable,” Mr. Stessel said, adding that both single-level and multilevel trains are running at around 95 percent capacity during peak hours on lines running into Manhattan.


Riders on one recent run from Trenton to New York gave the new cars two thumbs up, particularly the larger windows, extra legroom and cleaner floors and restrooms.


“I hope they replace the rest of the cars with these,” said Nick Sheremetta, who has commuted from Hamilton to New York for 27 years.


The big drawback, he and other riders say, are the luggage racks, which barely fit a briefcase. There are separate areas for luggage, but that comes in lieu of extra seats.


Some train advocates are concerned that heavier trains take more time to speed up and slow down, which can lengthen commuting times on lines like the Morris & Essex, where stations are closer together than on the Northeast Corridor Line.


“The bilevels just can’t accelerate as fast as the single levels, and that means the schedules will be longer,” said Albert L. Papp Jr., who runs the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers. “They ride very, very well, which is good. But they are rolling apartment buildings.”

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree with that last part of the article, but not entirely. The multilevels accelerate at a pretty good rate, not really really fast, but enough to stay on the schedule now. About a month ago, I was in NWK Penn and was on a train on track 4 and the MLs on track 3 and both trains departed at the same time and the MLs were getting up there and then got ahead and was far gone by EWR. But yeah, the weight of the MLs is a big factor and could affect the schedules but by very little. I haven't been on one yet, but wanna try to make a trip one of these days, ride it on a scheduled super express.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.