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  New PATH cars and Riders' Comments in Forum

Date: April  17, 2005

onyo April 1st, 2005 08:19 AM

Port Authority to Replace PATH Fleet for $499 Million

The Port Authority hopes to put new PATH cars into service between 2008 and 2011. Some cars in the present fleet are 40 years old.


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey decided yesterday to spend $499 million to replace its fleet of PATH trains, some of which are 40 years old, with 340 cars built by a Japanese company, Kawasaki Rail Car.

The contract to design and build the cars, which was approved during a three-minute public meeting of the Port Authority's board of directors, will be the single biggest investment in the PATH system since it was created in the 1960's, said Anthony R. Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority.

It is part of an $809 million program to renovate the PATH system, which runs from downtown Newark to Lower Manhattan and Herald Square. The system carries about 200,000 riders each weekday.

The new fleet, which is expected to go into service between late 2008 and 2011, would sharply improve the PATH's reliability, Mr. Coscia said. Kawasaki has guaranteed that, on average, its cars will travel 160,000 miles between breakdowns, he said. They will also be more comfortable and easier to clean, he added.

Mr. Coscia would not say if Kawasaki's bid was the lowest of the three the board considered, but he said it offered the "best value" because the total cost of acquiring, operating and maintaining the trains would be lowest with the Kawasaki cars. He also declined to identify the other bidders.

Michael DePallo, the general manager of the PATH system, said the contract would provide a "tremendous economic boost" to the local economy because Kawasaki has promised to spend $128 million in the region on labor and parts. Kawasaki has an assembly plant in Yonkers, but makes the shells of its cars in Lincoln, Neb., a Port Authority spokesman said.

Hiroji Iwasaki, a senior vice president at Kawasaki Rail Car's American headquarters in Yonkers, attended the meeting, but declined to comment about the contract. The company is a unit of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., which is based in Kobe, Japan.

Kawasaki's first big assignment to build subway cars in America came from the Port Authority two decades ago. In 1986, it built the 94 cars that make up the fourth generation of the current PATH fleet. The oldest PATH cars were built in 1965.

With an average age of 33 years, the fleet is the oldest of any heavy rail line in the country, Mr. DePallo said.

Kawasaki also built many of the newest New York City subway trains, including the R142A cars that run on the Lexington Avenue line and the R143 cars on the L line. Kawasaki also formed a partnership with Alstom Transportation, a French company, to produce cars that will be known as R160's under a $961.7 million contract the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded in 2002.

Mr. Coscia said the new PATH cars would be an updated version of the R142's the MTA bought. "Our price on a per-car basis is actually lower than they paid, but we're getting better cars," Mr. Coscia said with a grin.

He said the Port Authority has no plan to raise fares or tolls on the Hudson River bridges and tunnels to cover the cost of the trains. The money will come from $809 million the agency allocated in late 2003 for PATH improvements. He added that the agency had been hunting for ways to cut its annual expenses by $150 million, or about 10 percent, and has already identified potential savings of about $100 million.

NYatKNIGHT April 1st, 2005 10:50 AM
This can't happen soon enough. Those PATH cars wobble, buckle, jolt, and careen out of control like a runaway train when they get going fast.

STT757 April 2nd, 2005 11:37 AM
Originally Posted by NYatKNIGHT
This can't happen soon enough. Those PATH cars wobble, buckle, jolt, and careen out of control like a runaway train when they get going fast.

That's what makes them so fun

Next time I ride the PATH im going to load Ozzies "Crazy Train" into my Ipod Mini, blasting "Im going off the rails on a crazy train" somewhere along the 33rd street line.

The World Trade Center line is nice and smooth since the rebuilding of the tunnel between the World Trade Center and Exchange Place.

NYatKNIGHT April 4th, 2005 12:11 PM
You're right, in a way it is sort of like a thrill ride, like a rickety roller coaster - the fun is in the fear that the vehicle just may fly off the tracks. "Crazy Train" is a good theme song for plenty of subway rides as well.....

Ninjahedge April 4th, 2005 02:39 PM
You ride on it long enough you know where the curves are.

You have a switch over, and then two curves before Christopher. You then have one turn and a straitening between 9th and 14th, teh rest I am not so sure of.

Going back there are two curves coming into hoboken. One they have lights for and is relatively smooth. The second, if you are in the back car, can throw you off. Just be ready for it if you feel the train go faster and you only counted one curve after the hudson tunnel....

I think they need new cars primarily from the lack of security at the door switches. I will not talk anymore about that, but it is not comforting.

They should also see if there was any way to link to Newark Airport (as suggested, nevermind the air-train or whatever that link is...). It woudl also be handy to have the WTC site linked up to 33RD. I know you have the subway for that, but there would be fewer stops AND it would be cheaper to go from DT to MT... ;)

Hell, take it all the way up to CP!!!! Would be nice to get to the park from Hoboken w/o the 20 block walk.

P.A. to revamp PATH train fleet

Officials set aside $809M for cars, security

Thursday, September 11, 2003   BY RON MARSICO   Star-Ledger Staff

The entire fleet of aging PATH rail cars will be replaced or rebuilt under an $809 million expenditure authorized yesterday by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Nearly three-quarters of the trains are more than 30 years old, some of the oldest rail cars in the nation.

Port Authority commissioners approved the spending over the next seven years to replace the 246 oldest cars, overhaul the 94 cars that were bought in 1986 and replace the railroad's signal system.

"Providing new PATH cars will greatly improve the commute for tens of thousands of people who live and work in this region," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia. "It is a critical component of our $8.7 billion capital plan that will allow the Port Authority to fulfill its regional mandate to strengthen the transportation system in New York and New Jersey."

PATH began collecting its current $1.50 fare -- up from $1 -- in March 2001 to help pay for the new trains and signals, but the project was delayed after declining revenues following the economic downturn and 9/11. The initiative, first planned in the mid-1990s, is scheduled to be completed by September 2010, according to Michael DePallo, the PATH's director/general manager.

The signal system, which also was supposed to be replaced sooner, dates to the late 1960s but some components are 90 years old. Service on the old Hudson & Manhattan Railroad was opened by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1908 and the Port Authority acquired the bankrupt 14-mile line in 1962, renaming it PATH.

Under the current timetable, the first new cars will be in service by the end of 2006 and will have a design life of 30 years.

"Sixty percent of the fleet is essentially the oldest in the nation," said DePallo, explaining the average PATH car is 31 years old. He said the Staten Island Railroad has the nation's oldest fleet, with an average age of 32 years.

PATH ridership is expected to reach 54 million passengers this year, significantly down from the 74 million riders in 2000. Ridership has suffered from the loss of the World Trade Center station, where some 67,000 PATH passengers traveled on weekdays. But that station is set to reopen in November, while the Exchange Place station -- also closed after 9/11 -- reopened in June.

With security a paramount issue, DePallo said the revamped PATH will include detection systems for chemical and biological agents, as well as a video recording system on trains and live camera feeds. The new trains will meet federal rules for access by individuals with disabilities.

The Port Authority also approved spending $47 million to develop an environmental impact analysis and preliminary engineering for replacement of the deteriorating Goethals Bridge between New Jersey and Staten Island.

The ultimate cost of a new bridge will exceed $900 million, according to Anthony Cracchiolo, the agency's director of priority capital programs. Officials have considered renovating the span but Cracchiolo said he and his staff now believe "it might make more sense to completely replace it."

Similar environmental impact studies, costing some $25 million, were done for the project in 1997 but the U.S. Coast Guard did not issue a bridge permit, according to agency officials. That work is now outdated and must be redone, according to Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman.

Ron Marsico covers the Port Authority. He can be reached at or (973) 392-7860.

Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved.

NYatKNIGHT September 11th, 2003 03:13 PM
Finally, those vehicles are so outdated. Though it's relatively clean, it is not a smooth ride compared to most city subways.

Eugenius September 11th, 2003 03:32 PM
Nowhere does it say that the new cars will be faster... Oh, well.

I am very excited about a refurbished Goethals bridge. The old one isn't all that stellar-looking. Could we be in for something that is architecturally distinctive?

normaldude September 11th, 2003 05:17 PM
I'd rather they spend the money to extend the PATH trains to Newark Airport/Airtrain.

TLOZ Link5 September 12th, 2003 12:34 AM
First things first. It would be quite embarassing to have a state-of-the-art rail link with cruddy trains from the early '70s.

JCDJ September 12th, 2003 11:32 AM
When I first heard about this, I only heard of the replacement of the railcars. My first reaction was that perhaps there were more essential things the Port Authority could use the money for, but now I see the railcars are just part of it, in addition to the redevolopment of the bridge (where is that thing anyway?), it's also the new signals, and the new safety measures. I still maintain that new cars don't really seem to be all that important, but I do look foreward to it :)

I hope they'll be as nice as the L train, or the HB Light Rail :D

NYatKNIGHT September 12th, 2003 12:39 PM
PATH also has a problem with with station capacity, particularly at Christopher Street and 9th Street. During rush hour they have to close Christopher St. in one direction because there are only 3 turnstiles and not enough room for the amount of people who use it. Very inconvemient.

TLOZ Link5 September 12th, 2003 02:18 PM
From what I've heard, the PATH stations are also poorly ventilated and can be quite stifling in the summer.


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