Former Erie Lackawanna ‘Comet’ Cars Live Another Day in Utah

Utah Transit Authority had announced that its former Erie Lackawanna “Comet I” cars would be retired in April but quickly changed course. A UTA train with a Comet I car is seen in May 2019. Photo by Steve Barry. 

Former Erie Lackawanna ‘Comet’ Cars Live Another Day in Utah

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

SALT LAKE CITY — About two-dozen former Erie Lackawanna commuter coaches will live to serve another day after the Utah Transit Authority announced that they would not be retiring the cars in April as previously planned. 

Earlier this month, UTA tweeted that they would begin parking the 25 “Comet I” coaches on April 2. However, a few days later on March 23, they announced a “change of plans” and said that the cars would remain in service for the foreseeable future. 

“The 50-year-old classic cars are difficult to maintain (and) we are actively looking at options for acquiring more vehicles to prepare for our future growth,” the agency stated.
“In the meantime, keep enjoying the Comet cars!”

The Comet I cars were built for EL commuter service in northern New Jersey in the early 1970s. The commuter coaches would work for EL and successor New Jersey Transit until the 2000s when 25 were sold to UTA, which was experiencing a huge spike in ridership. The cars are usually paired up with three bi-level Bombardier cars that were built new for UTA in the 2000s. 

NJT has not used Comet I cars since 2009 and many were scrapped the following year. A few of the cars have even ended up in museums, including at New Jersey’s Whippany Railway Museum.  

This article was posted on: March 30, 2022