Trains For America

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US Railcar to Resume Production of Former Colorado Railcar DMU

The most noteworthy part of this is the FRA crashworthiness compliance and the commitment to move up to 125 mph. performance. This would be crucial for developing “high performance rail” envisioned by current Obama administration efforts.

CL40922

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 1 /PRNewswire/ — Private investors affiliated with Value Recovery Group, Inc. (VRG) of Columbus, OH, have acquired the Colorado Railcar DMU and will resume manufacturing this modern domestically produced passenger train in a new manufacturing facility to be established later this year pending state/local incentives and final round investments. Assets acquired by US Railcar include the former Colorado Railcar DMU proprietary rights and information, manufacturing documentation, inventory, and other equipment necessary for production.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090701/CL40922)

According to VRG Chairman & CEO Barry H. Fromm, “US Railcar intends to reestablish passenger train production in the United States.” Currently, passenger trains purchased in the U.S. today are produced by European and Asian suppliers typically importing 40 of content from overseas. “We want to keep American jobs and U.S. public investment at home,” said Fromm. “There is a major commitment by the Obama Administration and the Congress to make investments in intercity and high-speed rail to promote economic growth and mobility, create jobs, conserve energy and address climate change. This opens a new era for passenger trains and railcar manufacturing in the United States.”

US Railcar, LLC will be led by Michael P. Pracht, its President & CEO, a rail industry veteran with extensive past experience at two of the world’s leading rail transportation companies, Siemens and Ansaldo. US Railcar will manufacture both single- and bi-level Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) which are self-propelled railcars eliminating the need for more costly locomotive-hauled push/pull trains in lower density corridors. Both platforms are fully compliant with existing Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) safety standards for crashworthiness as established by Department of Transportation and approved for immediate use on the national rail system.

Unlike European & Asian DMUs, the US Railcar DMU can operate in all mixed-mode freight corridors throughout the country without waivers and/or temporal separation agreements currently required for non-compliant foreign platforms. “There are extraordinary growth opportunities for passenger rail development,” said US Railcar CEO Mike Pracht. “The US Railcar DMU will enable new cost-effective passenger rail service across a range of corridors and routes, all with a proven, existing equipment platform already in service.”

The US Railcar DMU was prototyped through a demonstration project in 2002 and is currently the only FRA-compliant DMU operating in revenue service in North America. Available in both regional and intercity configurations, the US Railcar DMU is uniquely suited for incremental corridor development at speeds from 79-to-90 mph. Platform enhancements currently anticipated include a diesel-electric upgrade, increasing speeds to 125 mph, making this American-made DMU the ideal solution for both mature and emerging passenger rail agencies around the country.

VRG is an asset recovery and management firm that specializes in asset management, advisory and asset recovery services for state and local governments, commercial banks, private investors and several federal agencies, including the FDIC. VRG also manages a brownfield remediation and redevelopment partnership and serves as consultant to advanced energy programs for state and federal agencies. More information about Value Recovery Group can be found at http://www.valuerecovery.com. US Railcar’s website http://www.usrailcar.com is currently under development.

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Filed under: Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

14 Responses

  1. Mike G says:

    This post does not show up correctly in Safari.

  2. patlynch says:

    Thanks. Looked OK on the dashboard.

  3. Adam says:

    With PTC, there shouldn’t be any need for these, although cosidering we want to keep jobs and money home, I’m willing to pay that price. Still, someone should be willing to make something to compete with Bombardier, Alstom, and Siemens.

  4. [...] New buyer revives domestic DMU railcar manufacturer (Trains for America) [...]

  5. HockeyFan says:

    Good news. Vermont was close to completing a purchase for DMUs for the Vermonter. Stalling and lukewarm support by Gov. Douglas effectively prevented the sale, which likely contributed to CO Railcar going under.

  6. hooray, now WES won’t be an orphan.

  7. I am somewhat disturbed that the emphasis seems to be totally on DMU equipment. DMU is great for commuter operations and short corridors but you need coaches, diners, and sleepers for long distance service and there is a huge lack of those on hand, and no hope of any new ones showing up for several years if an order were placed today, so I hope this company also plans to produce equipment that is locomotive hauled for us members of the proletariate as well as DMU equipment for the others.

  8. Larry Krieg says:

    Jerry, with Amtrak committed to refurbishing sidelined cars, we now have a little breathing room before new ones need to be brought on line. Other companies, like Federated Railways (http://www.federatedrailways.com/home.htm) of Owosso, Michigan, are also trying to make a go of refurbishing older passenger equipment.

    From what I’ve read of Europe and seen first-hand in Japan, looks like you can do a lot with DMU and EMU trainsets in the regional markets. In the US, that would include all the Chicago-hub regional lines, the Cascades line, and the three California routes. On such routes the Talgo equipment (though locomotive-hauled) has shown what can be done to shorten schedules on existing tracks using tilting equipment. So tilting cars, whether coaches or self-powered trainsets, will do the most to shorten regional schedules in the US on conventionally engineered lines, and hence be the best investment in new passenger equipment.

    That leads to a couple of questions:
    [1] Are the Colorado DMUs equipped with tilt capability, and if not, could the single-level design be fitted with it? (I don’t suppose tilting a double-level car would be practical, would it?)
    [2] Would it be practical to retrofit existing coaches (such as Amfleet series) with either active or passive tilt, and is it worthwhile? (I believe a few of Japan’s KiHa 485 EMUs, originally fielded in 1964, were refurbished in 2002 with radial trucks and tilt capability as the 485-3000 series.)

  9. Ran says:

    @Larry The Amfleets comfortably go 125 mph now, with no tilt. Just how fast do you imagine running them?

  10. Andrew In Ezo says:

    FRA-compliant DMUs are so damn heavy, I wonder if tilt capability would work. Anyway, as they will run on track shared with freight, probably 90% of the time they would run at speeds that would not benefit from tilt capability, or justify the additional expense.

  11. Walter O'Rourke says:

    Colorodo Rail Car went under largely due to the Uncommonly bad financial management by Tom Rader who seems to be a clever and innovative designer and builder, but a poor manager.
    There are only two sections of Amtrak North East Corridor track that will permit high speed (125 MPH) operations … one section between Trenton NJ and New Brunswick, NJ and another portion in New England where there are few curves. Track speeds are permitted only with FRA approval and whereas the Old Pennsylvania Railroad and the New Haven Railroads used to run their trains at much higher speed over most of the Boston to NYC to Washington DC routes the FRA does not permit such speed for Amtrak.

  12. Roy Propsner says:

    Our company, A Basic Service…LLC has a market for USRailCar DMUs.
    Find our company president on Google, enter Roy Propsner.

    Bolivia and Brazil commuter passenger service.

    Light Rail Urban Transit Investment Grade Feasibility Economist Wanted
    Second week of September we contract with our client in South America.

    City 1 – surface metro – flat terrain, length 110km / 68 miles

    City 2 – surface metro (monorail, light rail vehicle, conventional metro), lines with estimated 90km / 56 miles, terrain variable.

    City 3 – Surface metro (monorail, light rail vehicle, conventional metro), lines with estimate 50km / 31 miles, flat terrain

  13. Glenn Migneault says:

    Has US Railcar approached Via Rail in Canada to purchase DMU’s for some of their runs on Vancouver Island and in Ontario, and conventional equipment for long haul.

  14. andrew102010@gmail.com says:

    1. Having these DMU units with tilt ability would allow faster running time on the CSX/Cardinal route. 2.DMU units would allow service for Columbus and Richmond/Newport News, cars joining and separating enroute. The glass top cars would be excellent on the CSX through the WV mountains.

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