Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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  by DutchRailnut
March 16, 2004

Comet V cars debut on Port Jervis line

Port Jervis – Without any fanfare, NJ Transit dispatched the first Comet Vs on the Port Jervis line yesterday morning – surprising commuters who ride the last train of the morning rush, the 6:47 a.m., with four new cars.
"They were ready to go, and we had an extra cab car of our own to make a train, so we just sent it out,'' said Walter Cross, NJ Transit's project manager for the 265-car Comet V program.
Cross said Metro-North Railroad's share of the Comet Vs is arriving steadily now, and he expects to field additional trains of the new cars in early April. Metro-North is buying 65 Comet Vs through the NJ Transit contract with Alstom Transportation in Hornell to replace its decrepit west-of-Hudson fleet.
About 17 of the new $1.1 million cars have been shipped since February, and a total of 30 should be delivered by April 30. The remainder of Metro-North's 65 will arrive gradually through Aug. 31, almost two years behind schedule.
"Alstom is almost back to full production – a little less than a car a day,'' said Cross. "So we're averaging maybe 16 to 18 a month now. But, you know, anything can happen."
Cross was making reference to the sudden collapse of Alstom's supplier for the Comet V's trucks, as the automobile-sized wheel assemblies for the cars are known, in October 2002. The Ohio company's closing came when production in Hornell was at its peak and sent Alstom scurrying for an alternative manufacturer, a process that consumed months. The delay crimped NJ Transit's ability to deal with post-9/11 changes in commuting patterns as well as keep long-standing commitments to ease overcrowding, expand service and open the Secaucus transfer.
The two railroads shared their old and new equipment to get through the crunch, but they came up short after Secaucus opened in September.
Metro-North upgraded service on the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines twice through October but had to hold off on the final rush-hour additions pending the receipt of enough Comet Vs. Now, the Port Jervis line is scheduled to get another rush-hour train in the morning and evening on April 26. Cross said Alstom will be completing the first of Metro-North's cab cars this month; once they are received and tested, more new equipment can be put into service. The Comet Vs aren't compatible with much of the two railroads' old equipment, so commuters will be seeing full trains of new cars rather than one or two here and there. Metro-North's trains on this side of the Hudson are diesel-powered and require a locomotive and cab car to operate in push-pull mode. The cab cars contain duplicate controls and lead the train when the locomotive is pushing it.