Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has awarded a contract to Nippon Sharyo and Sumitomo Corporation of America for 50 Gallery-type Bi-level passenger cars.

The contract price is $21 million for the base order which is to supply 8 cars, and includes an option to purchase an additional 42 cars.

The total contract amount with the option car is $119 million. The first eight vehicles are scheduled for delivery in 2014.

VRE will use these cars to replace old cars and to place additional cars in service for increasing ridership.

The gallery-type bi-level passenger car is a unique type of bi-level passenger car which has open space between the two sides of the upper decks, which allows ticket collectors to check tickets on both levels from the bottom level.

Nippon Sharyo with SCOA has already delivered a total of 71 passenger cars of the same type to VRE. To date, Nippon Sharyo and SCOA have already supplied 643 of these gallery-type passenger cars to customers in the United States.