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March 24, 2017

SEPTA's new multi-level coaches promise roomier ride on Regional Rail

Commuters who ride SEPTA's Regional Rail will have more places to sit – and a roomier ride.

The transit agency said Thursday it will spend $137 million to buy 45 new multi-level train coaches which feature seating on two levels, according to the Associated Press.

Transit officials say the new coaches, which will feature greater capacity and comfort with a two-two seating arrangement on both levels, will help accommodate a growing ridership. The first trains are expected to hit the tracks beginning in late 2019.

The roomier rail cars will be produced in Springfield, Massachusetts, by a subsidiary of Chinese rail car manufacturer CRRC. SEPTA said CRRC's bid was $48 million lower than the high bid – $185 million – of Hyundai Rotem, a South Korean company which opened a factory in South Philadelphia to build SEPTA's SilverlinerV rail cars. A third manufacturer, Bombardier of Canada, bid $172 million.

SEPTA has an option to buy 10 additional rail cars, which will be paired with new electric locomotives to be built by Siemens.