NEW JERSEY Transit is to invest up to US$1·3bn in new rolling stock for its 12 rail corridors, increasing capacity by almost 50% between now and 2005. Initial proposals were presented to the NJ Transit board on March 11, although funding sources have yet to be identified.

An initial order would cover 200 wheelchair-accessible single-deck EMUs and coaches, plus 22 electric and 18 diesel locos for delivery by 2002. Costing $525m, these would replace existing non-accessible and obsolete stock. The second build would add 200 double-deck coaches, 2 more electric locos and 15 diesels by 2005 for a total of $505m.

Some funding for new stock is included in NJ Transit’s $867m capital budget for the financial year beginning on July 1, which will also pay for improvements at Newark’s Penn Station and Hoboken Terminal, and for the Montclair Connection linking two commuter rail routes.

The budget provides $105m for construction of the Hudson-Bergen light rail line and another $48m to start work on the planned 54 km Camden - Trenton diesel LRT route. However, award of a $604m design-build contract to the Southern New Jersey Rail Group consortium of Bechtel and Adtranz was postponed in February. A risk assessment study into the sharing of the ex-Conrail tracks by light rail and freight trains is due to be completed this month.