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Bi-Level Coaches

Bi-Level Coaches to Begin Service in 1997

According to a 22 December, 1994 article in the Baltimore Sun, MARC has signed an $81.1 million contract with Kawasaki Rail Car Inc., a division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, to produce 50 bi-level coaches for commuter service. They anticipate gradually putting the coaches into operation starting in 1997.

According to the agreement, the shells of the bi-level cars will be built in Japan, and the remainder of the parts will be manufactured in the U.S. When MARC's last order of commuter cars was placed with the Sumitomo Corporation, the cars were assembled in a hanger at Martin State Airport in Middle River. MARC officials want to ensure that the assembly takes place in Maryland, to provide jobs for local workers. The same hanger will probably be used to build the new cars. Kawasaki Rail won the contract over Sumitomo, which bit $93.7 million, and Morrision-Knudson, which bid $96.3 million.

The coaches will each seat 147 passengers, about 50% more than current cars, and will feature larger windows, reclining seats, and reading lamps. The new cars will be 15 feet tall. Apparently the Penn Line between Baltimore's Penn Station and Union Station in Washington D.C. will require some modifications to ensure adequate height clearance, but the Camden and Brunswick Lines already meet these requirements, due to double-stack and Superliner traffic.

This information is based on an article which appeared in the Maryland section of the Baltimore Sun on 22 December, 1994. Some of the details may have changed since this article was published, and I will try to update this information as soon as possible. I am also seeking permission from the Sun to use the drawing of the bi-level coaches which appeared in this article.

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