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January 1995 - Page 77


RAIL NEWS

A mtrak/Passenger
SPEC IAL REPORT
First California Cars Delivered
The first of a new generation of rail passenger cars for California's intercity and commuter rail services was delivered to the state on Oct. 26, 1 994, by Morrison Knudsen at the company's Pittsburg, Calif., manufactUling plant. William J. Agee, chairman and chief executive officer of Morrison Knudsen presented a ceremonial key to the new car to Dean R. Dunphy, Secretary of business, transportation and housing, and James W. van Loben Sels, director of the Cali fornia Department of Transportation. MK Rail is manufactuting 1 1 3 state-of-the art California Cars for the state, which will put them into service on three intercity lines-the Capitols between San Jose, San Francisco, Oak land and Sacramento; the San Joaquin between Oakland and Bakersfield; and the San Diegan between San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara-and commuter service in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles under a $209 million contract. All cars are to be deliv ered in the next 1 8 months. The intercity ser vices and the two commute lines, CalTrain and L.A.'s Mett'olink, are all operated by Amtrak. According to van L oben S e l s , the new passenger cars and new California Locomo tives (the first F59PHI was delivered to the state in September) will form the foundation for convenient, inexpensive and efficient rai l passenger travel . "They a r e t h e key building blocks in the development of a dependable and fair-priced rail system for the 2 1 st centu ry," he said. The California Cars and California Locomo tives are being financed by the state through a $3 billion bond issue approved by voters in 1 990 for rail and transit improvements. At the same time the California Car was in troduced, Morrison Knudsen unveiled the first California-built car for San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit ( BART) system. Some 80 C-2 type commuter cars will be built for the BART service under a $ 1 4 1 million contract. Earlier in the day, MK unveiled at its Pullman plant in Chicago a passenger car for Metra, the com muter line serving Northeastern Illinois, and the plant's first completed steel shell of a Viewliner sleeper car for Amtrak. Those two contracts have a combined value of $480 million. "Our introducing in one day four, made-in America railcars sends a message loud and clear that Morrison Knudsen Corporation is committed to putting this country back on the railcar-making map," Agee said. The California Cars embody the latest in technology, passenger comfort, convenience and safety. They are the first bilevel passenger coaches built in the United States to operate at speeds up to 1 25 mph. The stainless steel cars are 85 feet long, 1 0 feet 1 % i nches wide and 1 6 feet, one inch high from rail to roof. There are two bi-parting, pocket doors per side, pneumatically operated. The air-conditioned cars feature wide pas senger aisles on both levels; seating for 95 pas sengers in comfortable, deluxe cushioned and contoured seats; two restrooms per car; large, closed overhead bins for luggage (as well as luggage storage areas in each car); bicycle stor age areas; panoramic windows ; face-to-face seating with tables; in-seat audio systems; on board telephones; and facsimile services. Facil ities for disabled passengers exceed ADA re q ui re m e n t s a n d e a c h c a r i n c l u d e s t w o wheelchair positions and secured positions for folded wheelchairs, one restroom equipped for disabled, and an on-board wheelchair lift. The BART cars are 70 feet long, 1 0 feet, six inches wide and 1 0 feet, six inches from top of rail to roof. The shells are GEC AI sthom-designed, extruded aluminum and in clude two bi-parting, pocket doors per side, electrically operated. The C-cars can be used as the lead cab car, trailing end car or in any position of the train consist. They are compati ble with the existing BART fleet and will be used to extend the 7 1 . 5-mile B A RT system throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The 2 1 5 ,000-square-foot Pittsburg, Calif., plant was opened in 1 99 3 . It employs 2 2 5 workers, and M K estimates that another 600

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