Refurbished PATCO cars finally begin rolling out [photos]

Eventually, the train comes.

Yesterday — more than a year behind schedule — PATCO unveiled one of its refurbished train cars and even took on a few passengers on its inaugural ride. 

The project is expected to cost $194 million with $70 million in federal financing.

 Commissioners, Congressmen and senators gathered Thursday as the Delaware River Port Authority  unveiled updated PATCO train cars.

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The project has been mired by delays, and It will take until next year to replace all 120 cars with refurbished models.

The refurbished cars are equipped with slip-resistant floors, new seats, room for bicycle parking, and an array of other new features and safety equipment.

The New Jersey shuttles across the Delaware River are much safer for passengers and workers, said U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-NJ, at the ceremony marking the new design.

“PATCO is different, from the day it opened, it had positive train control. The devastating situation with Amtrak will not happen,” Norcross said, referring to the deadly derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia this month.

The new PATCO cars also are equipped with a braking system that allows for faster stops and more stability. That will enable the train to save power by returning the braking energy to the cars’ power system, officials said.

The high-speed trainline transports commuters between South Jersey and Philadelphia. And that bilateral relationship was not forgotten at the début of the first six refurbished cars.

“This is about a regional economy and supporting each other. New Jersey needs Philadelphia, we are proud to be a part of the Philadelphia economy,” said N.J. Senate President Steve Sweeney. “It goes hand in hand.”

You can expect to see a few of the new PATCO cars on your commute starting tomorrow, but the fullly revamped fleet of 120 cars will not be ready until next year.

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