oldest passenger rail fleet in the United States is to
be replaced under a half-billion-dollar contract the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorized
yesterday for the purchase of new cars for its PATH
The $499 million expenditure for 340 new cars is the
largest single investment the Port Authority has made in
PATH since the agency acquired the Hudson &
Manhattan Railroad in 1962.
"This is truly a historic day for the Port
Authority and for the thousands of people in New York
and New Jersey who rely on the region's mass transit
system each day to get to their destinations," Port
Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said.
PATH carries 200,000 passengers a day between Hudson
County and Manhattan and had a total ridership of 57.7
million last year.
The contract, awarded to Kawasaki Rail Car Inc., to
design and build the new cars is part of an $809 million
PATH upgrade authorized by the Port Authority in
September 2003. The program included signal
improvements, car maintenance equipment and renovations
at PATH's rail car maintenance facility in Harrison.
During the past three years, the Port Authority has also
invested $566 million to rebuild a temporary World Trade
Center PATH station and the Exchange Place station in
Jersey City and renovate the rail tunnels underneath the
Hudson River after 9/11.
The Port Authority expects to break ground this summer
on a $2 billion transportation hub at the World Trade
"These initiatives continue to advance the goals of
the 10-year strategic plan that the board approved last
December by enhancing the mobility of people throughout
the region," Coscia said.
The Port Authority expects to have the first of the new
rail cars in service by late 2008 and the entire fleet
replaced by 2011.
More than a quarter of the contract -- $128 million --
is to be spent in the metropolitan area, mainly for
assembly of the new rail cars at a Kawasaki plant in
Coscia said Kawasaki's $499 million bid was not
necessarily the lowest, but the "lowest price of
the most responsible bidder." Legal considerations
prevented him from disclosing information about the
other bidders, he said.
"On contracts where there's an engineering
component and a delivery component, price is not the
only factor," Coscia said.
The purchase will be financed from the agency's capital
budget and there are no plans for a fare or toll
increase, Coscia said. PATH's $1.50 fare has been in
place since March 2001.
One of the primary advantages of the new cars, Coscia
said, is that they will average 160,000 hours in
operation before having to be taken out of service for
maintenance, compared with an industry average of only
about 100,000 hours.
"What will mean the most is the reliability of the
cars, the infrequency of being taken out of
service," he said. "Down time of the old fleet
is greater than the down time of the new fleet."
The new PATH cars will have improved lighting, air
conditioning and heating, cantilevered seats with room
underneath for passengers to store items, pre-recorded
station announcements; better signs and three sets of
doors on each side to allow for faster loading and
unloading. The existing cars have two sets of doors on
The new cars will replace the existing fleet, which has
an average age of 33 years and is the oldest in the U.S.
Service on the old Hudson & Manhattan Railroad was
opened by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. The Port
Authority acquired the bankrupt 14-mile rail line in
1962, renaming it the Port Authority Trans Hudson, or
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