COMPLETE replacement of the EMU fleet operating the Port Authority Trans-Hudson metro network linking Newark, Jersey City and Manhattan was approved by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey board of directors on March 31.

In a 3min meeting, the board voted to award a $499m contract to Kawasaki Rail Car for supply of 340 cars, which will be based on the 600 R142A vehicles that Kawasaki has supplied to New York City Transit’s IRT division since 2000. The stainless-steel cars units will be assembled at Yonkers using bodyshells fabricated at the company’s plant in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The car order is the largest component of an $809m programme launched in 1998 to modernise the 22 km PATH network, which carries an average of 200000 weekday riders between northern New Jersey and Manhattan.

An eight-car prototype unit is to be delivered in late 2008 for six months of trials, with full production running from 2009 to 2011. The new vehicles will replace PATH’s PA-1, PA-2 and PA-3 cars built between 1965 and 1972, which will be scrapped. Kawasaki will take back the 94 PA-4s it supplied in 1986 and try to sell them to another operator. Kawasaki has promised an average mean distance between failures of around 255000 km.