Bombardier MultiLevel Coach

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MultiLevel Coach
Morristown Express.jpg
NJ Transit MultiLevel cab car #7043 passing Mountain Station
AMT Seating.jpg
Interior of an Exo MultiLevel coach
In service2006–present
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation/Alstom[1]
Entered service2006 (NJT), 2009 (Exo), 2014 (MARC)
Number under construction113
Number built643
Number in service643
  • 127 (cab car)
  • 132 (trailer car with restroom)
  • 142 (trailer car)
Operator(s)NJ Transit, Exo, MARC
Car body constructionStainless steel
Car length85 ft (25.91 m)
Width10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
Height14 ft 6 in (4.42 m)
Floor height4 ft 3 in (1.295 m)
Maximum speed110 mph (177 km/h)
  • 139,250 lb (63,163 kg) (cab car)
  • 134,880 lb (61,181 kg) (trailer car with restroom)
  • 132,990 lb (60,323 kg) (standard trailer car)
Power supply480 V 3-phase AC 60 Hz
Braking system(s)Pneumatic disc and shoe
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Sourced from [2] except where noted

The MultiLevel Coach is a bi-level passenger rail car for use on commuter rail lines. The first units were delivered by Bombardier Transportation in 2006 for New Jersey Transit and Montreal's Exo. Over 643 have been delivered in various orders, including a later purchase by Maryland's MARC. NJ Transit ordered an additional 113 cars in 2021 from Alstom, which purchased Bombardier.


There are 643 MultiLevel Coach[3] cars in service as of 2015 on NJ Transit, Montreal's Exo, and Maryland's MARC. NJ Transit received 429 cars, including 62 cab cars. Exo has purchased 160 cars, including 26 cab cars. The MARC order consists of 39 trailers and 15 cab cars for a total of 54 cars.

The coaches were based on the Comet V and have a two-by-two seating arrangement and more knee and leg room than single-level coaches. The seats are also bigger and it has 15-30% more seating than on single-level coaches. The intermediate levels have 5 inward-facing seats on each side which flip up for wheelchairs or bicycles. On cab cars, a large equipment locker behind the cab replaces one row of seats. There are single-width side doors at intermediate levels for high-platform loading, and similar doors outboard of the bogies except at the cab position on cab cars. The latter doors of NJ Transit coaches have stepwell trapdoors, allowing these doors to be used for both high and low-platform loading. Exo coaches have one-piece end doors without traps, which can be used only for low-platform loading. There are also an automated announcement system and LED destination screens.

Eight MultiLevel cars were previously designated for the now-discontinued Atlantic City Express Service. These included the addition of first class seating sections and lounge facilities. After the ACES was discontinued in 2012, the cars were converted to regular NJT cars by Bombardier from 2013 until 2014. They re-entered NJT service in mid-2014.[4][5]

Service history[edit]

The first order for the coaches was placed in December 2002 by NJ Transit when it purchased 100 cars, with deliveries beginning in 2005.[6] In September 2005, the agency ordered 131 additional cars.[7] After exercising further contract options, the last order of which was placed in August 2008, a total of 329 first-generation cars were eventually purchased by NJ Transit.[8][9]

In December 2007, Exo's predecessor, the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) placed an order for 160 cars via a base order for 30 units and options for 130 more, though all options were exercised immediately. The cars began to enter service in late 2009.[10]

In September 2010, NJ Transit ordered 100 additional coaches, designated MultiLevel II, with options for 79 more.[8] In October 2011, MARC Train ordered 54 cars—15 cab cars and 39 trailing cars—from the NJ Transit options.[11] The remaining 25 options were not exercised.

In December 2018, NJ Transit ordered 113 additional coaches, designated MultiLevel III; the order included 55 unpowered cars and 58 powered multiple units with AC electric propulsion systems, which when coupled to other MultiLevel cars will allow the train to be propelled without a separate electric locomotive.[12] The contract included options for up to 636 more cars.[13] The new multilevel cars are to replace NJ Transit's Arrow III EMUs. The maximum speed of the power cars is 110 mph.[13] These cars may replace the 29 older ALP-46 electric locomotives in the future. Alstom, which purchased Bombardier in 2021, will complete the order.[1]

In October 2022, it was announced that NJ Transit will spend approximately US$8 million to replace the glazed polycarbonate windows on the entire fleet. Many of the windows have become permanently clouded due to heat and UV exposure which makes them difficult to see out of.[14]


Operator Years Built Qty. Notes
NJ Transit 2006–2009 329 52 cab cars, 277 trailers (99 with restroom)
2012–2013 100 10 cab cars, 90 trailers
2022–2026 113 58 powered multiple units, 33 cab cars, 22 trailers (6 with restroom)
Exo 2008–2011 160 26 cab cars, 134 trailers
MARC 2014 54 15 cab cars, 39 trailers
Total 756


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Alstom in the United States". Alstom. Retrieved January 18, 2023. Commuter rail cars for New Jersey
  2. ^ "Summary Minutes MARC Riders Advisory Council Meeting" (PDF). Bombardier (via MARC Riders Advisory Council). May 16, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 18, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  3. ^ Bombardier. "Multilevel Coaches in the USA and Canada". Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  4. ^ "Change Order 1 – ACE's Car Conversion and Reliability Improvement" (PDF). NJ Transit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-29. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  5. ^ "Change Order 1 – ACE's Car Conversion and Reliability Improvement" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-02. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  6. ^ "N.J. Transit Buying New Cars to Ease Crowds". The New York Times. December 12, 2002. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  7. ^ "New Jersey Transit orders another 131 cars from Bombardier". Progressive Railroading. September 28, 2005. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Bombardier Transportation awarded $267 million railcar contract". Press-Republican. September 1, 2010. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "World rolling stock market September 2008". Railway Gazette International. September 27, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "Bombardier to supply 160 cars for Montreal commuter service". Trains Magazine. December 18, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  11. ^ "MARC to purchase 54 bi-level commuter cars". Trains Magazine. November 4, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  12. ^ "It's official: Bombardier signs with NJ Transit for Multilevel III contract". Railway Age. January 9, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "For NJ Transit, another rolling stock innovation". 12 December 2018.
  14. ^ "NJ Transit to spend $8M for new train windows you can actually see out of". 10 October 2022.

External links[edit]